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WIU to Host Three Authors Sept. 19 for Fred Ewing Case and Lola Austin Case Writers in Residence

September 12, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Department of English will host the Fred Ewing Case and Lola Austin Case Writers in Residence Thursday, Sept. 19.

This year's writers include Mitchell S. Jackson, Jenny Offill and David Stevenson. A craft talk and question and answer session will be held at 3 p.m. in the third floor auditorium of Sherman Hall. A reading by the authors and reception will begin at 5 p.m. in the Sherman Hall auditorium.

• Jackson's debut novel, "The Residue Years," received wide critical praise. He is the winner of a Whiting Award, and his novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. Jackson's honors include fellowships from the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) and The Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Tin House and elsewhere. His nonfiction book, "Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family," was recently published by Scribner. He is a clinical associate professor of writing in liberal studies at New York University and is a well-regarded speaker who has delivered lectures and keynote addresses at events including the annual TED Conference, the Ubud (Bali) Writers and Readers Festival, and the Sydney Writers' Festival, as well as institutions including Yale University, Brown University, Cornell University and Columbia University. A formerly incarcerated person, Jackson is also a justice advocate who, as part of his efforts, visits prisons and youth facilities in the United States and abroad.

• Offill's first novel, "Last Things," was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury. It was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the L.A. Times First Book Award. Offill's second novel, "Dept. of Speculation," was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review. "Dept. of Speculation" has been shortlisted for the Folio Prize in the UK, the Pen/Faulkner Award and the L.A. Times Fiction Award. In 2016, Offill was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review. She is also the co-editor, with Elissa Schappell, of two anthologies of essays, and the author of several children's books. Offill has taught in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens University. She currently resides as the writer-in-residence at Vassar College.

• Stevenson is director of the Creative Writing and Literary Arts program. He has taught teaching creative writing for over 20 years at the University of Utah, the University of California Davis and at Western, where he was a professor and director of the graduate program in English. He writes often about the mountaineering experience, both in fiction and nonfiction prose, and has published widely in journals such as Ascent, Alpinist, Isotope and Weber Studies, as well as in The American Alpine Journal, where he has been book review editor since 1996. His short story, "Native," won the Boulevard Award for Emerging Writers in 1999. Recently he contributed to "Contact: Mountain Climbing and Environmental Thinking," edited by Jeff McCarthy (University of Nevada Press, 2008), edited a book length collection of student writing, "Practice: Twelve Stories and a Novella," and privately published a short folio of photographs of climbing in the Dolomites (Italy). His novel, "Forty Crows," is set in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

The series is sponsored by the WIU Department of English, the Fred Ewing and Lola Austin Case Writer-in-Residence program and the WIU College of Arts and Sciences.

The Fred Ewing Case and Lola Austin Case Writer-in-Residence supports bringing national writers of poetry and fiction to Western each year.

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