Authors on the way to UAF for Midnight Sun Series

Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
January 29, 2013

The English Department has put together a new lineup of authors for this semester’s Midnight Sun Visiting Writer Series.  Among these writers are Alan Heathcock, Pam Houston and Joan Naviyuk Kane.

On Feb. 1, Heathcock will be the first of this year’s guest writers to come to the UAF for a reading session, questions and book signing.  The main events will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wood Center Ballroom and will be open to the public.  People are also encouraged to come to the author’s craft talk that will be held at 3 p.m. in Constitution Hall’s Alumni Lounge.

Heathcock has written fiction for The Harvard Review and his book “Volt,” was named “Best Book of 2011” by The Chicago Tribune, GQ and Publisher’s Weekly.  “Volt” is collection of short stories about the residents of Krafton, a fictional town depicted with a sense of realism.  Aside from his writing career, Heathcock teaches fiction writing at Boise State University.

“He’s a really interesting upcoming author, and we enjoy his writing,” said Ryan Bateman, the English Department Public Relations Teaching Assistant.

As well as finding his work “engaging,” the English Department chose Heathcock because of the themes in his writing that relate to Alaskans.

“Alan Heathcock is really good for an audience like Fairbanks. The stories he writes aren’t Alaskan stories, but they are rural stories,” Bateman said.

Heathcock will begin by reading some of his stories, and then the audience can ask questions to learn more about his work. Attendants can bring their own copies of Heathcock’s works or or purchase a copy of his novel at the event to have it signed.

“It’s cool because you get access to this mind of this literary writer. Even if its just for a moment, you get a chance to ask a question that may have been digging at you,” Bateman said.

The next writer that the English Department is bringing to UAF is Pam Houston, author of “Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound.”  She is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis and teaches at The Pacific University in Stockton California.  Houston will be at the Wood Center on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.

“This semester in particular we have a really cool line up I think, there are less authors but they are strong authors,” Bateman said.

Before each reading, authors will hold open craft talks, where they will lecture on a particular writing aspect.

The English Department brings approximately eight to 10 authors to Fairbanks each year for visiting writer series.  Last semester, the department featured several poets and novelists in their series including Robert Wrigley, Kim Barnes and Melinda Moustakis.  The department aims to bring literary writers or writers that integrate an artistic point of view in their works.

“We’re really interested in exposing both UAF and Fairbanks to literary arts in general, and although places like Fairbanks Art Association do a really good job of fostering an internal community of literary artists, it’s also nice to get some external input too,” Bateman said.

The entire Fairbanks community is encouraged to come to this free event.

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