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Pygmalion Literary Festival reading series starts Sept. 27 in Urbana

9/18/2013 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts & Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568; rhodes8@illinois.edu

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The popular Pygmalion Music Festival, held annually at the University of Illinois Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Art Museum and other venues in Urbana-Champaign, has added a two-day literary festival this year. Among the writers who will be reading from their works: Matt Bell, the author of “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods”; Dan Chaon, the author of “Among the Missing” and “You Remind Me of Me”; and James Greer, the author of “Artifical Light,” “The Failure” and “Guided By Voices: A Brief History.”

Matt Bell
Matt Belladditional photoDan Chaonadditional photoAmelia Gray

Nicknamed “Pyg Lit,” the festival reading series begins Sept. 27 (Friday) at 6 p.m. at Cafeteria and Company, 208 W. Main St., Urbana, with a lineup of authors that includes Bayo Ojikutu, Kathleen Rooney and Greer – a novelist, screenwriter and former bass guitarist for the band Guided By Voices – whose first book of short fiction will be released in October.

At 8 p.m., the festival moves to Buvon’s Wine Bar, 203 N. Vine St., Urbana, for readings by Roxanne Gay, Kyle Minor, and Bell, whose epic debut novel about a newly married couple’s efforts to have a child was described by The New York Times as “a gripping, grisly tale of a husband’s descent into and ultimate emergence from some kind of personal hell.” National Public Radio called the book “one of the smartest meditations on the subjects of love, family and marriage in recent years.”

On Sept. 28 (Saturday), beginning at 3 p.m., Amelia Gray and Chaon will read at Mike ‘n’ Molly’s, 105 N. Market St., Champaign. Chaon’s latest novel, “Await Your Reply,” received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Bookmarks Magazine described it as “a novel that evokes the same kind of dread one feels from reading a good horror or science fiction novel without relying on any of the clichés from those genres.”

Pyg Lit will conclude at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St., Champaign, with readings by five authors – including Aaron Burch, Elizabeth Ellen and Lindsay Hunter – starting at 8:30 p.m.

Adding a literary festival to Pygmalion was the brainchild of Caleb Curtiss, who had attended the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I came back in awe of how their organizers were able to engage their audience on a completely different level by combining great indie rock with a world-class literary festival,” Curtiss said.

One of the Iowa City organizers, Andre Perry, will be reading at Pyg Lit.

Curtiss had no difficulty persuading Pygmalion founder Seth Fein and Jodee Stanley, the director of the U. of I.’s creative writing program, to help organize the reading series.

“We loved Caleb’s idea of collaborating with Seth and the Pygmalion Music Festival,” Stanley said. “It seemed a great way to connect with the community in some off-campus venues, and since Seth and Caleb are both alumni of our program, it’s a perfect fit.”

All literary events are free and open to the public. For more information on the Pygmalion Lit Festival, visit www.pygmalionlitfest.com.
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