Read all about it at Pacific

June 6, 2012

A host of authors will be on the Forest Grove campus later this month for the MFA in Writing summer residency. Don't miss out on the public readings. (Also, remembering Ray Bradbury.)

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If you enjoy a good book (and I really, really do), June is the time to celebrate all things literary in Forest Grove. From June 15 through 22, about 25 authors will present public readings at Pacific University as part of the master of find arts in writing program.

The low-residency MFA program invites aspiring writers of nonfiction, fiction and poetry to enhance their craft by working in mentoring relationships with published authors. Students attend a 10-day residency to kick off each semester (Forest Grove in June and Seaside in January), and they leave the residency paired with an author-faculty member with whom they correspond for the next semester of intense reading, writing and study.

As a writer, I think it sounds like a pretty amazing opportunity for the students who participate.

Luckily, the rest of us can get in on the action in the evenings (and a couple of afternoons). The authors who serve as faculty members will present readings throughout the 10-day residency program. All are free and open to the public, so be sure to stop by!

A couple highlights of this year’s residency include appearances by Bonnie Jo Campbell, who was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in Fiction, and poety Kwame Dawes, who was awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, both on Friday, June 15. Poet Joseph Millar also was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and reads on Sunday, June 17.

I’m personally looking forward to a reading by Debra Gwartney on the afternoon of Friday, June 22. She was in Forest Grove a couple of months ago, and I wrote about her book, Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters. I missed her appearance back in April, and I don’t plan to miss this one.

A complete schedule of the readings follows. Which one are you looking forward to most?

Friday, June 15, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Bonnie Jo Campbell, Kwame Dawes and Jack Driscoll    

Saturday, June 16, 1:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Judy Blunt and John McNally 

Saturday, June 16, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Ellen Bass, Pete Fromm and Frank Gaspar

Sunday, June 17, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Valerie Laken, Joseph Millar and Leslie Adrienne Miller

Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Dorianne Laux, Michael Meyer and Laura Pritchett

Wednesday, June 20, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Marvin Bell, Elinor Langer and Christine Sneed 

Thursday, June 21, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Mike Magnuson, Peter Sears and Mary Helen Stefaniak

Friday, June 22, 1:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Sandra Alcosser, Debra Gwartney and Kellie Wells

Friday, June 22, 7:30 p.m., Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center
Claire Davis and Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Also, as we celebrate great authors today, I also would like to take a moment to remember the legendary and prescient Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday at the age of 91.

Perhaps best known for Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury left us more than two dozen novels and 600 short stories. I admit, I’ve only read a handful: Fahrenheit 451, of course, and Driving Blind, a collection of short stories.

I actually read Driving Blind first (F-451 wasn’t required reading in my school), because it was a birthday gift from my stepbrother. I remember being overtaken by a sort of awe as I read those tales, one I’m actually re-living right now as I race through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

It’s the feeling of being late to the party and not really caring—maybe I should have read it before, maybe I’ve been living under a rock to not already know how fabulous this is. I don’t care. I’ve got it now, and I’m not putting it down.

What authors or books do that for you?