17th annual Writers Conference in Honor of Elmer Kelton
The annual conference, which focuses on fiction, poetry, nonfiction and drama, is open free to the public. This year’s conference will include discussions on how different cultures and gender give voices to underrepresented groups, including Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans and women.
Garcia will conduct a public reading at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 followed by a book signing. She will also participate in a public interview at 10 a.m. A National Book Award finalist, she is the author of six novels, including “Dreaming in Cuba,” “A Handbook to Luck” and “The Lady Matador’s Hotel.” She has also published several young adult novels and a collection of poetry.
A Cuban native, Garcia draws from stories about her native land, focusing on controversial issues around her heritage and exploring the Cuban identity. She has been honored for her depiction of the Cuban-American experience, winning the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Writers’ Award, Princeton University’s Hodder Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Joining Garcia on the program will be Carmen Tafolla, a fiction writer specializing in the Mexican-American experience. She will follow Garcia’s Feb. 22 evening presentation with a public poetry reading. Her best-know work is “The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans,” which focuses on how cultures and languages intersect along the Texas-Mexico border. She was named the first Poet Laureate for San Antonio by Mayor Julian Castro.
Another special guest at the conference will be 2002 ASU graduate Jackie Rosenfeld, a playwright and senior lecturer in the School of Theater at Stephen F. Austin State University. She is best known for her play “keepingabreast,” which was accepted for the New York Fringe Festival in 2012.
Garcia, Tafolla and Rosenfeld will be the guests of honor at a hors d’oeuvres luncheon at noon on Feb. 22 that will be open free to the public in the University Center’s Nasworthy Suite. Members of ASU’s Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and Society for Technical Communication student organization will set up displays featuring the authors’ works.
While they are on campus, the authors will also visit and present their work in several ASU English and theatre classes, and they will have dinner with students and faculty from ASU’s English and Modern Languages Department before the evening program.
The Writers Conference is named for author Elmer Kelton, who died in 2009. He is the author of more than 40 books, including “The Time it Never Rained,” “The Man Who Rode Midnight” and “The Good Old Boys.” He was a seven-time winner of the Western Writers of America’s (WWA) Spur Award, and he was named the WWA “all-time best western author.” Kelton also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association and the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He was the first Distinguished Visiting Professor at ASU.
The conference is sponsored by the university and hosted by the English and Modern Languages Department.
More information about Garcia is available online at www.cristinagarcianovelist.com; more information about Tafolla can be found online at www.carmentafolla.com/; and more information about Rosenfeld is available at www.theatre.sfasu.edu/people.php?link=facstaff&id=72.