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Rebecca Solnit Latest UW MFA Creative Writing Eminent Writer in Residence
January 4, 2011 — Rebecca Solnit, an acclaimed author of numerous celebrated works of nonfiction, is the latest Eminent Writer in Residence in the University of Wyoming's MFA program in Creative Writing.
An activist, art critic and cultural historian, Solnit will spend four weeks at UW guiding an interdisciplinary group of students in creating a unique atlas devoted to Laramie and the region. Her most recent work is "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, and Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas."
"Rebecca Solnit believes maps and atlases can lead us toward a new way of understanding the places we live in," says MFA faculty member Alyson Hagy. "The sense of place is strong in Wyoming. Solnit's Laramie Atlas Project will invite students to make new maps -- some of them traditional, some of them innovative and even eccentric -- of the region to chronicle its nature and ties to the larger world."
Solnit will visit UW classes across campus and consult with MFA students on their writing during her residency. Her visit is co-sponsored by the Albany County Public Library Foundation, the UW Art Museum, The Helga Otto Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Social Justice Research Center.
Solnit also will conduct two public presentations during her residency.
The first presentation, "Infinite City/Gem City: Reimagining Maps and Atlases," is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the Albany County Public Library. She will introduce the Laramie Atlas Project, discuss her latest book and sign books after the presentation.
Her Laramie Atlas Project presentation is similar to the "Infinite City" project in San Francisco. Solnit will solicit input from Albany County residents as she launches the creation of an innovative set of local maps.
The second public event, "The Laramie Atlas Project: Work-in-Progress Discussion," is at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, at the UW Art Museum. Solnit will discuss her effort with UW students to "remap" the community and its resources. A reception follows.
Solnit's residency follows the Eminent Writer residencies of fiction writer Rattawut Lapcharoensap and poets Jan Zwicky and Robert Bringhurst. Previous Eminent Writers in Residence have included Edward P. Jones, Philip Gourevitch, Claudia Rankine and Joy Williams.
Rebecca Solnit is the latest Eminent Writer in Residence in the University of Wyoming MFA program in Creative Writing. (Photo courtesy of Scott Sommerdorf/San Francisco Chronicle)