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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Authors & poets


    Kick off your spring break with the festival of the year at the Tucson Festival of Books!

    On March 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., literature lovers will be overwhelmed by the festival that is bringing over 400 authors, over 100 exhibitors, a food court and much more to the UA campus.

    “”Anything that has to do with literature will be available to attendees,”” said Bill Viner, CEO of Pepper Viner Homes, and a founding member of the Tucson Festival of Books. “”There will be over 204 opportunities to hear an author speak over the two days.””

    According to Viner, writers of all kinds will be talking about their lives and their characters and what inspires them to write.

    From Arizona’s best-selling author, J.A. Jance, to America’s Poet Laureate Billy Collins, to television writers Bill and Bob Odenkirk, acclaimed literary minds will come together for the betterment of literacy in the Tucson community.

    “”The whole premise is to be the catalyst to energize the community about the importance of literacy to our future,”” said Viner.

    Arizona is very much behind the literacy curve; one in five adults in Pima County is functionally illiterate and 50 percent of Arizona students read below grade level, said Viner.

    To get the ball rolling on turning this around, there will not only be speakers, but there will also be workshops for attendees on everything from screen writing to getting your book published.

    Bill and Bob Odenkirk, brothers who have written for shows such as “”Saturday Night Live”” and “”The Simspons,”” will be speaking, presenting and holding a workshop titled “”Screen Writing: How to Survive and Thrive in Hollywood”” on March 15 in Gallagher Theater at 11:30 a.m.

    “”It’s exciting,”” said Viner. “”They are coming and giving their time to meet the public to present ideas, answer questions and help us move Tucson a little bit forward.””

    This festival is modeled after the largest literary festival in the country, held annually on the UCLA campus – so get excited Tucson!

    “”In terms of the number of authors and the number of attendees, it is going to be one of the largest literary events in the country,”” said Viner.


    On Saturday and Sunday, the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center has invited 18 published poets and writers to read at the Tucson Festival of Books.

    Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Professor Hawthorne Deming and Professor Luci Tapahonso from the UA will kick start the event by reading their own published work.

    “”I’m excited about the festival bringingÿpeople from the community to campus to celebrate literature in its many forms,”” said Deming.

    Deming is a creative writing professor and has six books published including three books of poetry. Her newest book of poetry, “”Rope,”” which discusses the topics of extraterrestrial life, Greek myths, Hurricane Katrina and love, will be available September 29, 2009, .

    Saturday’s schedule will be followed by C.K. Williams and Peggy Shumaker at 11:30 a.m., Juan Felipe Herrera and local poet Sherwin Bitsui at 1:00 p.m., Rebecca Seiferle and Demetria Martinez at 2:30 p.m., and Billy Collins with Poetry Out Loud finalists reading in the South Ballroom of the Student Union at 4 p.m.

    The last day of the poetry readings will end with UA professors and poets Steve Orlen and Jane Miller at 4 p.m.

    Steve Orlen is a professor of poetry and has published several books of poetry including, “”Permission to Speak,”” “”A Place at the Table,”” “”The Bridge of Sighs,”” “”Kisses”” and “”This Particular Eternity.”” His newest collection, “”The Elephant’s Child: New and Selected Poems,”” was published in 2006.

    “”I like to explore questions such as, what it is like to be a human being, what should I do in my poetry, and how do we think and feel about intimate things like love and death,”” said Orlen.

    Sunday’s schedule will begin at 10 a.m. with Richard Shelton and Ken Lamberton reading in the South Ballroom of the Student Union, Gerald Stern and Anne Marie Macari at 11:30 a.m., Ofelia Zepeda and Chris Burawa at 1:00 p.m., Jimmy Santiago Baca with Poetry Out Loud finalists reading in the South Ballroom of the Student Union at 2:30 p.m. and Steve Orlen and Jane Miller at 4 p.m.

    “”I hope the audience will react to the readings by thinking, ‘I felt that way before, I just didn’t realize it.’ I think Robert Frost said something like that,”” said Orlen.

    All readings take place in the Integrated Learning Center, Room 120, unless otherwise noted. Also, all of the featured authors will be signing books after each reading.

    “”This is a great line up,”” said Orlen. “”I’m going to go to as many as I can.””

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