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Free Public Reading by UW Faculty Member is Oct. 24

October 16, 2015
man walking in crowd and playing an accordion
UW Professor David Romtvedt will play his button accordion Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Night Heron Books as part of a reading of his new novel, “Zelestina Urza in Outer Space.” (Courtesy Photo)

Award-winning author and University of Wyoming Creative Writing Program Professor David Romtvedt will read selections from his new novel, “Zelestina Urza in Outer Space,” Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Night Heron Books, 104 E. Ivinson St.

Romtvedt is a former Wyoming poet laureate, a recipient of a Wyoming Arts Council literature fellowship and the Wyoming Governor's Arts Award. He is currently on sabbatical from UW.

“Zelestina Urza in Outer Space” focuses on a young Basque woman who immigrates to Wyoming. Basques are the oldest surviving ethnic group in Europe, and their territory is located at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains, between Spain and France. 

During the reading, Romtvedt also will play Basque music with his daughter, Caitlin Belem. Together they will perform with a variety of instruments, including the violin, guitar, button accordion and vocal accompaniment.

The musical performance will parallel the story of important aspects of the Basque culture, Romtvedt says. Lyrics for many of the songs come directly out of the book and reflect Basque tradition.

“It gives insight into these people’s lives. Music and dance are such important parts of the Basque culture; it doesn’t make sense for the music not to connect,” Romtvedt says. “The music has a purpose.”

His reading is the final night of a two-week tour to promote “Zelestina Urza in Outer Space.” The tour includes more than 20 events across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

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