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Fiction writer leads off Carr Visiting Authors Reading Series at Illinois

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Fiction writer Dan Chaon will launch this semester’s Carr Visiting Authors Reading Series at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The author of a recent and widely hailed first novel and of two collections of short fiction, Chaon (pronounced shawn) will begin reading from his work at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 (Tuesday) in the Authors Corner of the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign. The event is free and open to the public.

A writer for BookPage, a monthly book-review digest, called Chaon “one of the best writers of American fiction today.” Chaon, the Houck Associate Professor in the Humanities at Oberlin College, will be a writer-in-residence at Illinois from Feb. 13 to 24.

Chaon will be a guest Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. on “Focus 580,” broadcast on WILL-AM (580). On Feb. 18, 7 p.m., Chaon will be at OpenSource, an alternative art space and event center at 12 E. Washington St., Champaign. In addition, he will meet with MFA students over the course of his stay.

The Carr Series is sponsored by the U. of I. English department and by its Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, which was begun three years ago.

Chaon’s first novel, “You Remind Me of Me,” was published in May 2004. The paperback edition will be released in April.

His second book of short stories, “Among the Missing,” was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award. The collection also was listed as one of the 10 best books of 2001 by the American Library Association, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Las Vegas Mercury and Entertainment Weekly. In addition, it was cited by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and The New York Times as one of the Notable Books of the Year. The collection has been translated into several languages.

“Fitting Ends,” Chaon’s first collection of short stories, was published in 1996 and has been reissued in a revised edition.

Chaon’s stories have appeared in many journals and anthologies including “Best American Short Stories of 1996,” “Best American Short Stories of 2003,” “The Pushcart Prize” of 2000, 2002 and 2003, and the “O. Henry Prize Stories 2001,” where his story “Big Me” won second prize.

Future Carr series talks will feature poets Suji Kwock Kim on March 2 and Linda Bierds in April, on a date to be announced.