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Readings, panel discussions to take place during U. of I. literary festival

3/4/2010 | Sharita Forrest, Arts Editor | 217-244-1072;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two University of Illinois alumni and several faculty members will be among the authors who will present their work and discuss current issues in publishing during the Early Spring Literary Festival at the University of Illinois.

The inaugural festival, March 15-17, will comprise a series of readings and panel discussions addressing concerns such as translation, small and independent publishing, technological change, book reviews, regional interest, and the difference between literary journalism and creative nonfiction.

“The Early Spring Literary Festival emerged from the Creative Writing Program faculty’s desire to create more occasions for intellectual and creative exchange among readers and writers on campus and in the Urbana-Champaign community at large,” said Audrey Petty, a faculty member in the department of English and one of the authors participating in the festival. “We began with the idea of drawing together campus voices as readers and panelists.  Over time, the planning expanded to also include a dynamic set of visiting writers – including U. of I. alumni, publishers, editors and critics.”

Among them:

Eileen Favorite, an alumna of the Creative Writing Program at Illinois, has been the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for poetry and prose, and the audio version of her book, “The Heroines: A Novel” (Scribner, 2007) was nominated for best audio recording of 2008 by Booklist. Favorite teaches at the Art of Institute of Chicago.

An alumnus of the department of political science, Bayo Ojikutu is the author of two novels, “47th Street Black” (Random House/Crown, 2003), which received the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Award; and the critically acclaimed “Free Burning” (Crown Books, 2006). Short fiction by Ojikutu has appeared in the 2005 Akashic Press anthology, “Chicago Noir,” and other publications.

Also scheduled to read are Jane Ciabattari, the president of the National Book Critics Circle, whose most recent work is the short-story collection “Stealing the Fire” (Canio’s Editions, 2002); and Manuel Martinez, a professor of American and Chicano literature at Ohio State University, who is the author of three novels, most recently “Day of the Dead” (Floricanto Press, 2009).
All events, free and open to the public, will be held in the Authors Corner on the second floor of the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign.

March 15
11 a.m. Panel discussion: “The Next Decade in Book Culture: The Rise of the
E-book.” Participants: Ciabattari; Philip Graham, professor of English; Harriett Green, English and digital humanities librarian, U. of I. Library; and Martin Riker, associate director of the U.S. Dalkey Archive Press.

2 p.m. Panel discussion: “Some Critical and Practical Issues in Translation Studies.” Elizabeth Lowe, director of the Center for Translation Studies; Patricia Phillips, instructor, department of French; Anastasiya Lakhtikova, lecturer, Slavic languages and literature; and Reinhard Mayer, visiting lecturer, School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics.

4:30 p.m. Reading: Favorite and Ciabattari.

March 16
11 a.m. Presentation: Ciabattari, “The Art of the Book Review”

3 p.m. Panel discussion: “The Truth of the Matter: On Creative Nonfiction and Literary Journalism.” Jabari Asim, Scholar-in-Residence, African American Studies and department of journalism; Christopher Benson, professor of African American studies and journalism; Steve Davenport, associate director of the Creative Writing Program; and Petty.

4:30 p.m. Reading: Martinez and Ojikutu

March 17
11 a.m. Panel discussion: “Independent Publishing.” Aaron Burch, editor, “Hobart: Another Literary Journal;” Peter Cole, editor, “Keyhole;” Zach Dodson, co-publisher/ creative director, featherproof books; and Jacob S. Knabb, creator, “ACM: Another Chicago Magazine.”

2 p.m. Panel discussion: “Where We’re At: Ninth Letter on Writing the Midwest.” Ninth Letter staff members/students Ashley Booth, Aaron Burch, Dana Burchfield, Brian Kornell and Micah Riecker; Jodee Stanley, managing editor, moderator.

4:30 p.m. Reading: Asim; Graham; Leanne Howe, professor of English; and Michael Madonick, professor of English.

The festival is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Carr Reading Series.

More information about the festival, the Carr series and the participating authors are available online.

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