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Teton County Library and UW Present Award-Winning Literary Voices in Jackson

October 1, 2013

Award-winning writers will read from original works to Jackson audiences from 7-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, and from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, both at the Ordway Auditorium.

Teton County Library and the University of Wyoming sponsor both free public events.

The authors are Rattawut Lapcharoensap, winner of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35”; and award-winning Navajo poet Sherwin Bitsui.

Born in Chicago and raised in Bangkok, Lapcharoensap wrote the short story collection “Sightseeing” and is an Eminent Writer in Residence in the UW MFA Program in Creative Writing. Lapcharoensap won a five-year European literary grant from the Abraham Woursell Foundation and a 2010 Whiting Writers Award for his work.

“Lapcharoensap writes with a depth of emotion, of tenderness really, and fluent descriptive detail,” said the Whiting judges. “We like the access he provides to a world we know nothing about.”

Lapcharoensap will read from a new short story published in this summer’s issue of Granta magazine, which named him a Best Young American Novelist.

Raised on the Navajo Indian Reservation, poet and UW Eminent Writer in Residence, Bitsui attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M., and the University of Arizona in Tucson. In a recent interview in “This Week from Indian Country Today,” he explained his attraction to poetry.

“I grew up in a traditional family, and I always knew that language is powerful, that it can enact things, and change things and transform them. But, when I saw contemporary forms of poetry, in books and anthologies, the way poets expressed themselves was very familiar.”

Bitsui will read from his award-winning poetry collections, “Flood Song” and “Shapeshift,” as well as new work from his forthcoming collection.

The UW MFA Eminent Writer in Residence Program is funded by the Excellence in Higher Education Endowment, created in 2006 by the Wyoming Legislature. The Endowment brings acclaimed scholars, artists and educators to Wyoming, and awarded funding to both the MFA Program in Creative Writing and the UW American Indian Studies Program to support Bitsui’s residency.

For more information about the event, call Teton County Library at (307) 733-2164.

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