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January 28, 2013 — Acclaimed author ZZ Packer is the first guest this semester in the University of Wyoming’s MFA Program in Creative Writing Visiting Writers Series.
She will read from her work at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Albany County Public Library, located at 310 S. Eighth St. The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book signing sponsored by Second Story Books.
Packer’s short story collection, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” (Riverhead Books, 2003), was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, a New York Times Notable Book, and chosen by John Updike for the Today Show Book Club.
Her writing has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Granta, Harper’s, Ploughshare’s and Best American Short Stories 2000 and 2003. She has been named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow for fiction, was selected as one of Smithsonian Magazine's Young Innovators and was among American's Best Young Novelists by Granta in 2007. Packer was included two years ago on The New Yorker magazine's "20 under 40" list of notable fiction writers.
Packer was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and has taught most recently at Princeton, the University of California-Berkeley, Vassar and the University of Texas-Austin. Her novel “The Thousands,” about the Buffalo Soldiers in the post-Civil War years, is forthcoming from SpiegelGrau. Packer now teaches at the University of Houston in the MFA of Creative Writing program.
Writer Jean Thomas, in the New York Times, says of Packer: “Young writers, naturally enough, write about young characters. ‘Drinking Coffee Elsewhere’ is not really limited by this. Instead, there is a sense of a talented writer testing and pushing at those limits, ringing as many changes as possible within her fictional world. It is a world already populated by clamoring, sorrowing, eminently knowable people, and with the promise of more to come.”
“The UW MFA Creative Writing program aims to mentor a new generation of writers. Each semester, the program’s Visiting Writers Series brings distinguished writers and emerging new voices to Wyoming,” says Beth Loffreda, program director. “The program is fortunate to add Packer to its list of recent guests, which includes Claudia Rankine, Don DeLillo, John D’Agata, Colson Whitehead, Charles Baxter and many others.”