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National Book Award Finalists Ben Fountain, Jess Walter Present Jan. 30 at Gonzaga

Posted on January 29, 2013 in: Academics, Alumni, Arts, Events, Faculty & Staff, Lectures, Service, Spotlight

Author Ben Fountain.

Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series

SPOKANE, Wash. – National Book Award Finalist authors Ben Fountain and Jess Walter will co-present as part of the popular Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Fountain’s book “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” (HarperCollins) was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award in the fiction category. Fountain, who lives in Dallas, wrote “Brief Encounter with Che Guevara” (Ecco, 2006), which earned both the prestigious Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction and the Whiting Writers Award for emerging writers.

Walter, of Spokane, has penned novels, essays, short fiction, criticism, and journalism in publications including Harper’s, Esquire, and ESPN the Magazine. His novel “Beautiful Ruins” (2012 HarperCollins) received wide acclaim and his latest novel “We Live in Water” is to be released by Harper Perennial in February. Walter’s “Citizen Vince” (Harper Perennial, 2005) won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel and his “The Zero” (Harper Perennial, 2006) was a finalist for the National Book Award. His novel, “The Financial Lives of the Poets” (Harper Perennial, 2009), was named Time Magazine’s No. 2 novel of the year.

After Fountain and Walter’s presentation, there will be two more events for the 2012-2013 Visiting Writers Series. Nikky Finney will present Feb. 26, and Maya Jewell Zeller and Laura Read will co-present for the final reading on March 27.

Finney will discuss her National Book Award-winning poetry book “Head Off & Split” (Triquarterly, 2011). Her acceptance speech  for the award is touted as one of the best speeches ever delivered at such an event. Finney also has received the PEN American Open Book Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry. Finney is the Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Kentucky and is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of black Appalachian poets.

Zeller a member of the English faculty at Gonzaga, is an acclaimed poet whose work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2011). “Rust Fish,” Zeller’s first book, was published in 2011 by Lost Horse Press. A Spokane poet, Read earned undergraduate degrees in English and French from Gonzaga and completed a master of fine arts degree in poetry at Eastern Washington University. She has taught at Spokane Falls Community College since 1998.

All readings will take place in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room and all authors will participate in question-and-answer sessions on campus the afternoon before their readings. All events are free and open to the public.

The Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by Gonzaga’s English department, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Academic Vice President’s office, the Faculty Speakers Committee, Pennaluna and Company, and the Davenport Hotel.

Tod Marshall, a poet and professor of English at Gonzaga, who continues to organize the series annually, started the series in 2007. The series earned Gonzaga’s first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, contact Tod Marshall at (509) 313-6681 or via email.

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