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ASU showcases literary talents at Arizona Book Festival by quotes

ASU showcases literary talents at Arizona Book Festival

TEMPE, Ariz. – What do you get when you cross pig cookies, a grandmother’s wisdom, robots, poets and a godfather? A spectacular line-up of Arizona State University authors at the 2007 Arizona Book Festival.
ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is sponsoring presentations by an impressive array of university-affiliated literary talent at the Arizona Book Festival, which is presented annually by the Arizona Humanities Council.
ASU Regents’ Professor of English Alberto Ríos will be honored with the 2007 Literary Treasure Award, given by the Arizona Humanities Council to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the literary heritage of Arizona. Ríos is the author of nine books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories and a memoir. His latest collection of poems is The Theater of Night. A recent finalist for the National Book Award, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University for 25 years and recently gave the keynote address for the city of Chandler’s Celebration of Unity luncheon.
Jewell Parker Rhodes, professor of English and Piper Endowed Chair of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, will read and sign her newest book, Porch Stories: A Grandmother’s Guide to Happiness. Porch Stories is Rhodes’s tribute to her beloved grandmother, an account of the love she received and the lessons she learned.
Tom Wayman, Distinguished Visiting Canadian Fulbright Chair in Creative Writing at ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center, will take part in a celebration of poetry at the festival. An anthologist as well as a poet, his academic home is the University of Calgary, Alberta, where he was coordinator of creative writing for the past three years.
A new book of Wayman’s poems, High Speed Through Shoaling Water, and his first collection of short fiction, will be published this spring.
Joining in the poetry celebration with Wayman will be ASU English alumna Sarah Vap (MFA Creative Writing 2005). Vap recently published two award-winning books of poetry: American Spikenard, winner of the 2006 Iowa Poetry Prize, and Dummy Fire, winner of the Saturnalia Books 2006 Poetry Prize.
Other talented ASU poets to be featured include Josh Rathkamp (MFA Creative Writing 2004), Stephanie Lenox (an ASU student and staff member), Eduardo C. Corral (B.A. Chicano/a Studies 1999) and Charles Jensen (MFA Creative Writing 2005). In addition, ASU Master of Fine Arts students in both art and poetry will display their unique collaborative work inside the Carnegie Library as part of the “Visual Text Project.”
Another ASU-affiliated writer to be showcased will be Lee Gutkind, the “godfather” of creative non-fiction and Distinguished Writer in Residence at ASU’s Piper Center. Gutkind not only legitimized the genre of creative non-fiction, but made it one of the fastest growing as well. For him, it’s about writing the truth in a “scenic” and “compelling” way. Non-fiction, he believes, can be communicated in a dramatic fashion, in much the same way poets and novelists tell stories. Gutkind will read from his recent memoir, Forever Fat: Essays by the Godfather, and his just-released book, Almost Human: Making Robots Think.
Arizona Book Festival director, Jill Bernstein, is excited about ASU’s extensive involvement in the event. “The Humanities Council is extremely thrilled to have an opportunity to showcase all of the literary talent from ASU, and share this amazing resource with the wider community,” she said.
“We are pleased that the books of scholars at ASU will be highlighted,” said Deborah N. Losse, dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The participation of ASU in the Arizona Book Festival is just one aspect of the ongoing and meaningful collaboration between our Institute for Humanities Research and the Arizona Humanities Council.”
Presented by the Arizona Humanities Council, in partnership with the Arizona State Library, and with major support from Target and SRP, this annual literary extravaganza is the Valley’s premiere book event, featuring dozens of authors – poets, novelists, and non-fiction writers, well-known and emerging – from across the United States and Canada. The festival will take place on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the historic Carnegie Center, 1101 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Admission is free. Parking also is free, and abundant.
More information about the festival is at
<> or (602) 257-0335, ext. 28.


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