Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Visit with Oklahoma Authors and Poets: February 10 and March 3 in Oklahoma City

Rilla Askew was born and raised in eastern Oklahoma, where her family has lived for five generations. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Tulsa in 1980 and her MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College in 1989. Her short fiction was selected for Prize Stories 1993: The O. Henry Awards. Her collection of stories, Strange Business, received the Oklahoma Book Award in 1993, and her first novel, The Mercy Seat was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Her novel Fire in Beulah received the American Book Award, the Myers Book Award, and was chosen as the 2007 Centennial selection for Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma. Her novel Harpsong received the 2008 Oklahoma Book Award and Western Heritage Award. She is married to actor Paul Austin and they divide their time between Oklahoma, where she currently serves as Artist in Residence at the University of Central Oklahoma, and the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. 

Marcia Preston (M.K. Preston) grew up on a wheat farm in central Oklahoma. From her father she learned the art of storytelling; from her mother, a reverence for books; and from Oklahoma’s red earth, a love of wildlife and the outdoors. Writing as M.K. Preston, Marcia is the author of an Oklahoma mystery series featuring Chantalene Morrell, daughter of a Gypsy mother and a redneck father. She has written mysteries including Song of the Bones and Perhaps She’ll Die; general fiction including The Butterfly House, The Piano Man, Trudy’s Promise, and The Wind Comes Sweeping. Marcia earned degrees from University of Central Oklahoma, taught in public high schools for more than a decade, and worked for a time as PR and publications director for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. As a magazine writer for many years, she also edited and published ByLine, a trade magazine for aspiring writers. 

Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author. In 1992, he retraced the Trail to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders. His first book, Walking the Choctaw Road, was the result, and in 2005, it was Book of the Year in both Oklahoma and Alaska. Crossing Bok Chitto, Tingle’s first illustrated book, won over twenty state and national awards, was the inspiration for two award-winning plays, and was a 2006 Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review. His most recent children’s book, Saltypie, was selected as an American Library Association Notable Book for 2011. He has authored four books of Southwestern and Indian ghost lore, including Spirits Dark and Light, ghost stories of the Five Tribes. Tingle received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies.

Nathan Brown is a musician, photographer, and award-winning poet from Norman, Oklahoma. He holds a PhD in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma. Mostly he travels, performing readings and concerts as well as speaking and leading workshops in high schools, universities, and community organizations on creativity, creative writing, and the need for readers to not give up on poetry. He has published six books: My Sideways Heart (2010), Two Tables Over (2008)—Winner of the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award, Not Exactly Job (2007)—a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, Ashes Over the Southwest (2005), Suffer the Little Voices (2005)—a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, and Hobson’s Choice (2002). Just released in the spring of 2010, Nathan’s new album of all-original songs, Gypsy Moon, is his first musical project to come out in over a decade.

Ken Hada is a fourth generation Oklahoman, descendant of Danish and Hungarian immigrants; Gypsy poets, barn dance aficionados, art lovers, amateur philosophers, wheat farmers, preachers, teachers and common-sense craftsmen. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Languages at East Central University and director of the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival since 2006. Besides having published two books of poems, The Way of the Wind, and Spare Parts, his critical work has appeared in several publications: The Explicator; Southwestern American Literature; Oklahoma English Journal; American Indian Culture and Research Journal and many more. His poetry has appeared in Travelin’ Music: A Poetic Tribute to Woody Guthrie; Crosstimbers: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Journal; California Quarterly; Night Whispers: A Poetry & Prose Anthology; Oklahoma Today; Poesia; Kansas City Voices; Red River Review; Flint Hills Review and other journals and reviews.

Carol Hamilton has recent publications in Poet Lore, South Carolina Review, Tulane Review, Atlanta Review, New York Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Louisiana Literature, Southwestern American Literature, Texas Poetry Calendar, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, and others. She has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize. She has received the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry, a Southwest Book Award for a children's novel, the David Ray Poetry Award, a Warren Keith Poetry Award, and the Chiron Review Chapbook Award. She is a retired educator and currently translates for Variety Health Clinic.

Sandra Soli has published articles, short fiction for adults and children, photography, and poetry. A past author of the month for Highlights Magazine, she received the 2008 Oklahoma Book Award in poetry, LSU's Eyster Poetry Prize, and two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Active with arts organizations and known for mentoring writers around the state, she serves on the board of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, teaches by email and by invitation, and enjoys collaborative projects with artists in other disciplines; she has worked with dancers, artists, musicians, actors, and clergy to develop new works.Sandra is a magna cum laude of Central State University and holds an honors M.A. from UCO. Annually, she coordinates a special project for National Poetry Month and also volunteers many hours each year at the Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City.

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