Monday, June 16, 2014

Joy Harjo in Independence?! Indpendence, Kansas?!

Beloved literati,
 The Astra Arts Festival is proud to present the 2014 line-up of Literary talent which showcases the best of contemporary Midwest writing!
 The town of Independence, Kansas is hosting 32 authors representing many different genreseverything from memoir to science fiction, cowboy poetry to zombie literature, blistering short stories and breathtaking lyric poetry. There is something for everyone in this summer's offerings - and you're invited.
 The short sections below detail some of the themes we have going on, but your participation and attendance is by no means limited to each section.
 We hope you'll find something of interest and come and see us this July. It simply wouldn't be the same without you.
 Yours sincerely,
 Eloise Leeson,
ASTRA Arts Festival Literary Marketing Lead
 
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SO WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT, THEN?
The Astra Arts Festival is proud to present the 2014 line-up of Literary talent which showcases the best of contemporary Midwest writing! Independence is hosting 32 authors representing many different genres—everything from memoir to science fiction, cowboy poetry to zombie literature, blistering short stories and breathtaking lyric poetry. There is something for everyone in this summer’s offerings, and you’re invited.
 
CALLING ALL YOUTHS!
Calling all budding authors and young lovers of the written word!
 Are you a young adult or teen who loves nothing more than escaping into a good book? Find yourself thinking up plotlines on the bus to school? Think math would be better if there was a swordfight or dragon involved? Then why not come by and check out our epic selection of events just for you at this year’s inaugural Astra Arts Festival.
 On offer, we have:
 ·A Teen Story Discussion with Patrick Ryan, editor of One Teen Story
·A YA poetry slam – complete with prizes!
·A ‘Lit Crawl’ – stagger through the streets of Independence, and get tipsy on type! Led by Sue Landwehr and Lori Martin 
·A Zombie Lit Panel, hosted by Bennett Sims,
·A Discussion of Horror Fiction led by a gentleman who is a writer, cartoonist, musician, occasional filmmaker, and self-confessed pop culture junkie - the multi-talented Mike Hall!
The Astra Arts Festival is from July 3rd – July 13th in Independence, KS. Check the website for tickets, directions, details, and a full schedule of events.
 
A WEEKEND OF WORDS
Are you searching for something slightly off the beaten path this 4th July weekend? What about exploring your local area and enjoying some fantastic literary events in the town of Independence, KS? Our inaugural Astra Arts festival has a selection of events occurring on Saturday and Sunday the 5th/6th and the 12th/13th of July.
You are warmly invited to any (or all!) of the following:
 ·Self-Published Authors’ Panel Discussion (10 am Saturday, 5th)
·Self-Published Authors’ Book Sale (5pm Sunday, 6th)
·Reading by the author who wrote the critically acclaimed book ‘Children of Men’ -  Mary Doria Russell (5pm Saturday, 12th)
·Reading, Stephen Meats (2pm Saturday, 12th)
·Reading, Kathy DeGrave (3pm Saturday, 12th)
·Writing Contest winners, Booth Hotel (8pm Sunday 13th)
·ASTRAglow reception, Booth Hotel (9pm Sunday 13th)
And if you find you have a little time between these wonderful happenings, make sure you check out the following ongoing artistic events:
·Downtown Mural, David Lowenstein/Rachel Unruh, community project
·Penn & Laurel Invitational Art Exhibit, Jay Nelson, Curator, Independence
·Public Library, VerdigrisValley Art Exhibit, Independence Historical Museum, open entry
·Graffiti artist GEAR will be conducting a Graffiti Wall Mural & Painting Demonstration, at the Public Library
You can also peruse the many independently owned shops and coffee houses we have right here in town – and make sure you get yourself a real, old-fashioned Cherry Phosphate from our very own soda fountain. The Astra Arts Festival is from July 3rd – July 13th in Independence, KS. Check the website for tickets, directions, details, and a full schedule of events.
 
FOR THE HISTORICALLY INTERESTED
Pulitzer nominees, past and present poet laureates and everyone in between will be leading multiple events during this Astra Arts festival that focus on local and national history. As well as dropping past the readings from celebrated authors, why not try your hand at a Memoir Writing Workshop? We also have Masterclasses that promise to be a real treat. Why not make an afternoon of it with the following?
 ·Memoir Writing Workshop, Lori Martin (2pm Thursday 10th)
·Reading, Caryn Mirriam Goldberg (3pm Thursday 10th)
·Reading, Wyatt Townley (4pm Thursday 10th)
Of course, there’s plenty more on offer. The Astra Arts Festival is from July 3rd – July 13th in Independence, KS. Check the website for tickets, directions, details, and a full schedule of events.
 
POETRY: READING, WRITING, LISTENING.
Calling all poets and lovers of word-craft—these readings and workshops are designed specifically for you:
 ·A Haiku and Photography Installation
·Young Adult Poetry Slam with Patrick Ryan, editor of One Teen Story (prizes for winners)
·The Literature Crawl, featuring regional authors and the historic downtown of beautiful Independence, Kansas
·A Poetry Reading by Dr. Jim Hoy, Cowboy Poet of the Plains
·Poetry Workshop with Chris Anderson of Pittsburg State University
·Readings by Laura Lee Washburn, Stephen Meats, Kathy DeGrave, and others
·Former Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam Goldberg and Current Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townley reading from their collections in the historic Alf Landon House
·An evening with Joy Harjo, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, Native Writers Circle of The Americas Lifetime Achievement Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award.
 
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO WRITE, WE SALUTE YOU.
If, as Erasmus said, ‘the desire to write grows with writing’, then we highly recommend the following events to kick-start or rekindle your love affair with putting pen to paper:
Why not spend some time with Pittsburgh University educator Kathy DeGrave? One student has described her as having ‘monumental skills with stimulating student creativity in writing fiction. Always take a class from her every chance you get…She makes you want to learn’. Excited yet? Get your tickets online now. (2pm, Tuesday 8th)
If you’d rather a later start, you could come on by to what promises to be an amazing Masterclass with Arna Hemenway, author of Elegy on Kinderklavier, the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship for Fiction Writing and the John C. Schupes Fellowship for Fiction Writing and Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing at Baylor University. With a resum√© like that, how could you afford to miss this? (4pm, Tuesday 8th)
The Astra Arts Festival is from July 3rd – July 13th in Independence, KS. Check the website for tickets, directions, details, and a full schedule of events.
  
STRANGER THAN FICTION? LISTEN UP!
As we have such a wide-ranging series of readings, we recommend that those who love to listen head on over to the Astra Arts Festival website for all the details. From Hemenway to Harjo and Martin to Meats, make sure you note down your favorite events and get your tickets fast! Places are limited and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.
 
Headlining Authors
Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry, which includes such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses have garnered manyawards. These include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. For A Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming of age book, was released in 2009 and is Harjo’s most recent publication.
“...With a double shot of heart, beauty, freedom, peace and grace that blends traditional Native rhythms and singing with jazz, rock, blues and hip-hop, Harjo is right at the top of the best contemporary American poetry and music artists.”—Thomas Rain Crow, The Bloomsbury Review
Ms. Harjo will perform a reading of her works at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9 at the Inge Theatre on the campus of Independence Community College.

Alan Heathcock
Alan Heathcock writes about small towns and their secrets in Volt. Heathcock has an understanding and love of rural areas. His book has received great notice and acknowledgement.
Alan Heathcock’s VOLT was a “Best Book” selection in numerous newspapers and magazines, including GQ, Publishers Weekly, Salon, the Chicago Tribune, and Cleveland Plain Dealer, was named as a New York Times “Editors’ Choice,” selected as a Barnes & Noble “Best Book of the Month,” as well as a finalist for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Prize.”
Heathcock has won a Whiting Award, the GLCA New Writers Award, a National Magazine Award, has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Lannan Foundation, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. A native of Chicago, he lives and works in Boise, Idaho.
During the Astra Arts Festival, Mr. Heathcock will perform a reading of one of his short stories at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 10 at the Independence Community College Black Box Theatre.
  
Mary Doria Russell
Mary Doria Russell has been called one of the most versatile writers in American literature and one of our greatest contemporary storytellers. She has a huge following in the science fiction world for her award winning books The Sparrow and Children of God.
Russell’s first novel, The Sparrow (1996), was chosen as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and won the Arthur C. Clarke Prize, the British Science Fiction Award for best novel in 1998. The sequel, Children of God (1998), won the Friends of the Library USA Reader’s Choice Award, and was nominated for the Hugo Award, Best Novel in 1999.
Her first historical fiction, A Thread of Grace (2005), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, was described by a reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle to be “As sad as the history that engendered it, and hauntingly beautiful.” Russell’s fourth novel, Dreamers of the Day (2008), was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her most recent fiction, Doc (2011), examines the Old West of Doc Holliday and Dodge City; it was named a Great Lakes Great Book, and a Notable Book by the Kansas State Library.
Mary Doria Russell lives in Cleveland with her husband and is working on her next novel, Epitaph, the story of the 1881 gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona, and its aftermath.
Ms. Russell will perform a reading at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at the Presbyterian Church.

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