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Canadian Writer Helen Humphreys Is WIU's Case Writer-In-Residence

October 18, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Award-winning Canadian novelist and poet Helen Humphreys will serve as the Fred Ewing and Lola Austin Case Visiting Writer in the Western Illinois University English and journalism department Monday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 3 to work one-on-one with Western’s advanced creative writing students.

She will give a 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 reading of her work in the WIU Art Gallery. Humphreys will also present a “Craft Talk” from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 in Simpkins Hall 341. Both events are open free to the public.

“I would love to see a huge turnout for these two events. Helen Humphreys’ books are very readable – the kinds of stories that many people would enjoy,” said Tama Baldwin, WIU English professor.

Humphreys, who teaches creative writing in residencies across Canada, won the Toronto Book Award for her first novel “Leaving Earth,” a story of two aviatrixes who attempt to set a world endurance record by circling Toronto 25 days nonstop. “Leaving Earth” was also cited as a New York Times Notable Book (1998) as was her second book, “After Image” (2002). Humpheys said she received her inspiration for her third book, “The Lost Garden” (2003), from her grandfathers: one a painter and amateur gardener, one a RAF bomber pilot. Booklist gave her latest novel “Wild Dogs” (2005) a starred review, saying: “Versatile and nervy Canadian novelist Humphreys…delves into the deepest mysteries of existence with empathy, imagination and an earthy and thrilling lyricism.”

Her books of poetry, published by Brick Books, include “Anthem,” “The Perils of Geography,” “Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radios” and “Gods and Other Mortals.”

Western Illinois’ Fred Ewing and Lola Austin Case Writer-in-Residence Endowment is designed to nurture upcoming writers by providing learning for a lifetime through extended residencies for visiting writers and greater opportunities for more interaction between students and established writers.

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