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Short-story author to lead off spring 2008 Carr Reading Series

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Mark Costello, a celebrated short-story author and emeritus professor of English at the University of Illinois, will return to campus to kick off the Spring 2008 Carr Reading Series. 

The lecture series is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program at Illinois. All series events are free and open to the public.

Costello will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Authors Corner of the Illini Union Bookstore Building, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign. Costello taught creative writing in the U. of I. English department from 1972 to 2002.

He is the author of two collections, “The Murphy Stories” and “Middle Murphy.” His work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction and The Best American Short Stories. His “Murphy Stories” won the St. Lawrence Award for Short Fiction.

A native of Decatur, Ill., Costello is a recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and of five grants from the Illinois Arts Council. He has served as a visiting writer at many colleges and universities, including Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa and Northwestern University.

Other Carr speakers, all scheduled to begin readings at 4:30 p.m. at the bookstore, except where otherwise noted:

• March 3, Mariko Nagai, poet and short-story author, who teaches creative writing and literature and directs the writing programs at Temple University Japan Campus. Born in Tokyo but having lived most of her life in America and Europe, Nagai was the Erich Maria Remarque Poetry Fellow at New York University.

A two-time recipient of the prestigious Pushcart Award – one for poetry, the other for short stories – she has received numerous fellowships and scholarships from art foundations and writers’ conferences.

Nagai’s poems have appeared in many publications, including The Gettysburg Review, New Letters and Prairie Schooner. She also translates modern and contemporary Japanese poems and fiction into English.

• April 3, Patrick Rosal, the author of “Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive,” finalist for the Asian-America Writers’ Workshop Literary Awards and winner of the AAWW Member’s Choice Award. His second full-length collection, “My American Kundiman,” was published in 2006. Rosal’s chapbook “Uncommon Denominators” won the Palanquin Poetry Series Award.

His work has appeared in journals such as North American Poetics and the Beacon Best. He has been a featured reader at many venues nationally and internationally.

• April 11, Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana, David Foster Wallace, an award-winning author of novels, short stories and books of essays. In 2005 he published “Consider the Lobster,” a book of essays, and last year served as editor of The Best American Essays 2007, part of The Best American Series.

Wallace, the son of professors at Illinois and Parkland College, grew up in Philo, Ill., a few miles southeast of the Illinois campus.

Wallace is perhaps best known for his epic novel, “Infinite Jest” (1996), which was acclaimed by critics and readers. He now teaches writing at Pomona College in California.

One of Wallace’s fan sites describes the author’s topics as “wide ranging, but he seems to have a special interest in American culture, addictions and excess. … Wallace has gained a cult following and become somewhat of a celebrity himself.”

The Carr Reading Series is made possible by a gift from Robert J. and Katherin Carr.

For more information, visit the Carr series Web site: