"Joe Wilkins has a big, true, highway-running American voice. When you see a new book of his, you should celebrate. Just buy it, put down the window, and let the music blow back your hair. It's nothing but alive." – Luis Alberto Urrea
Next week I’m headed to what I’ve always thought of as one of the best literary events around, Get Lit! Loads of amazing writers this year–Joyce Carol Oates, Jess Walter, Kim Barnes, David Shields, Major Jackson, Robert Wrigley, Emily Danforth, and so many more–and lots of great panels, readings, and workshops. If you happen to be in Spokane, I’d love to see you! Here’s my schedule of events:
Event: Panel Discussion: Your Truth, My Truth, Their Truths: The Modern Memoir
Date: Friday, April 12
Time: 12 p.m.
Venue: North Idaho College, Molstead Library, Todd Lecture Hall
Description: Memoir is more popular than ever. Contemporary writers are taking risks of
storytelling technique and subject matter that continue to redefine the genre. Joe Wilkins’ memoir,
The Mountain and the Father, is a collection of stories about the men and boys he knew growing
up in the harsh landscape of northern Montana. Anna Vodicka’s essays have appeared in Brevity,
Ninth Letter, The Iowa Review, and other outstanding journals, and she is currently finishing her
first full-length memoir. Moderated by writer and NIC faculty member Jonathan Frey.
Event: Workshop: Crafting Evocative Prose
Date: Saturday, April 13
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Venue: Red Lion Hotel, Riverside Board Room 1
Description: The poet Richard Hugo claimed “all truth must conform to music,” for in music we
find a fuller, stronger truth. As a prose writer, especially as a creative nonfiction prose writer, I’m
not sure I buy that 100% of the time, but, nonetheless, I think Hugo’s on to something. In attending
to language, we not only say what it is we’re after in more effective, vivid ways, but we very often
find ways to say that which we didn’t even know we could say. We discover what it is we really
mean to say. In this craft lesson we will discuss four techniques for attending to language and
crafting evocative prose. Participants are asked to bring an essay-in-progress, as we will have some
time to apply these techniques in revision and share revised work at the end of the lesson.
Event: A Reading with Jim Lynch and Joe Wilkins
Date: Saturday, April 13
Time: 2 p.m.
Venue: Red Lion Hotel, Audubon/Manito room, lobby level
Description: From urban underbellies to Big Sky dreaming, writers have always sought to capture
the true essence of the Northwest. Olympia writer Jim Lynch dives into Seattle’s sordid past with
his latest novel, Truth Like the Sun. A tenacious newspaper reporter sets out to unmask corrupt local
politics and gets swept up in a story that goes all the way back to the famous (and infamous) 1962
World’s Fair. Joe Wilkins chooses farmland over skyscrapers in his memoir, The Mountain and
the Fathers. Set in the drought-afflicted area of northern Montana known as the Big Dry, his stories
reexamine masculinity and the American mythos of the West, all while set in a land that “chews
up young and old alike.” Both authors take us on a journey through the Northwest with humor and
heart, through familiar landscapes that local readers will particularly appreciate.
Details: Each author will have 15-20 minutes of reading time, followed by a joint Q&A after the
readings. Book signing to follow in the adjoining ballroom.