The Regional Writers Series provides IU East students as well as the Richmond community at large with opportunities to meet, work with, and learn from established and published writers active in this region. The series highlights the remarkable diversity of writers in the Midwest: from rural bards to Afrilachian poets, Rust Belt essayists to post-apocalyptic novelists, slam poets to true crime short story writers, and more. In addition to the diversity of genres and sub-genres, Midwest writers are made up of a wide diversity of race, gender, socioeconomic class, age, ability, veteran status, and more. It is to shine a light on that wealth and depth and breadth of excellent writing and writers in the Midwest that IU East hosts and provides space for the Regional Writers Series.
This event is generously funded by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Mindful Explorations.
Coming to IU East on Oct. 16, 2018: Claire Vaye Watkins
Claire’s first book, Battleborn, a bone-jarring short story collection set in the American west, received a flotilla of honors, including being named NPR’s Best Short Story Collection of 2012:
“A real treat… Through remarkably assured writing that manages to be both bristly and brittle, Watkins chronicles despair and loneliness, catalogs valiant fights for survival and desperate please to be heard, and every time has us rooting for her underdogs.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Readers will be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side — wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.”
—Antonya Nelson, New York Times
Her newest book, Gold Fame Citrus, is also set in the American west, but a west that is futuristic, sun-bleached, nearly emptied by the terrifying sweep of global climate change:
“A beautiful debut novel . . Watkins’ vision is profoundly terrifying. It’s a novel that’s effective precisely because it’s so realistic — while Watkins’ image of the future is undeniably dire, there’s nothing about it that sounds implausible. . . She also writes with a keen understanding of human nature, both good and bad. She has a genuine compassion for the Angelenos who have chosen to remain in their dying, desiccated city as well as for the ones who have evacuated. . .The prose in Gold Fame Citrus is stunningly beautiful, even when — especially when — Watkins is describing the badlands that Southern California has become…One might think there are only a few ways to portray a landscape that has become, essentially, nothing, but Watkins writes with a brutal kind of beauty, and even in the book’s darkest moments, it’s impossible to turn away. It’s an urgent, frequently merciless book, as unrelenting as it is brilliant. Watkins forces us to confront things we’d probably rather ignore, but because we’re human, we can’t.”
-Los Angeles Times