CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 19, 1999
UI Writers' Workshop faculty Heather McHugh, Chris
Offutt to read
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Heather McHugh will read from her
poetry, and Chris Offutt from his fiction, at a reading sponsored by the University
of Iowa Writers Workshop at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 in Shambaugh Auditorium
of the UI Main Library.
Both McHugh and Offutt are currently visiting faculty
members at the Writers Workshop and both have recently published new
"The Father of the Predicaments" is McHughs
10th book. Her collection "Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993" was
a National Book Award finalist and chosen as Best Book of the Year by the
New York Times and Publishers Weekly.
In a review of "Hinge & Sign," Linda Gregerson
wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "If ours were a more reverent
country than the one John Ashbery and Heather McHugh gorgeously exemplify,
these two would long ago have been made to endure the title of national treasures.
For the treasure we too long have taken for granted -- our fractious, healing,
double-dealing, on-the-make vernacular -- is nowhere so richly turned to account
as in the poems they have been giving us for years."
McHughs other works include "Shades,"
"To the Quick," a collection of critical essays titled "Broken
English: Poetry and Partiality," a translation of Blaga Dimitrovas
"Because the Sea is Black," and a translation of Jean Follains
Winner of the Folger Librarys 1998 O.B. Hardison,
Jr. Poetry Prize, McHugh is Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at
the University of Washington Master of Fine Arts program, and she was recently
elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She is currently working
on a set of translations of poems by Paul Celan.
Offutts new collection of short stories is titled
"Out of the Woods." At the age of 19, Offutt left his Appalachian
Mountain community of 200 and held more than 50 part-time jobs in various
parts of the country. Many of the hard-edged stories in "Out of the Woods"
are about those who have left the Kentucky hills and long to return: gravediggers,
drifters, gamblers and truck drivers.
Offutts first book, "Kentucky Straight,"
also a collection of stories, won awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the
American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Whiting Foundation. Tobias Wolff
wrote, "Chris Offutt is one of the best writers of short fiction in his
-- or any -- generation." Annie Dillard called him "a first-rate
storyteller soaring at the height of his power."
Offutt also wrote "The Same River Twice,"
a memoir partly about his experiences in Iowa City when he was a student in
the Writers Workshop, and "The Good Brother," a novel. His
short stories have appeared in a wide variety of journals. His story "Melungeons"
was anthologized in "Best American Short Stories 1994" and "Aunt
Granny Lith" in The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories.
He is slated to teach at the Writers Workshop until
the spring of 2001. In recent years, he has taught creative writing at Morehead
State University, the University of Montana and the University of New Mexico.