Five award-winning alumni of the Key West Literary Seminar workshop program read from their new books. Paula Whyman, Amina Gautier, Jay Desphande, Sam Slaughter, and Theodore Wheeler will be featured at this reading and book-signing.
Come in from the cold to reconnect and reminisce about the island with other KWLS supporters and alumni at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill.
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Books:
In You May See a Stranger, we find Miranda Weber hoarding duct tape to ward off terrorists, stumbling into a drug run with a crackhead, and frequently enduring the bad behavior of men. A drivers education class pulsing with racial tension is the unexpected context of her sexual awakening. As she comes of age, and in the three decades that follow, the potential for violence always hovers nearby. She's haunted by the fate of her disabled sister and thanks to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 80s, the wars in the Middle East, and the threat of crime and terror in her hometown of Washington, D.C., Miranda can be lascivious, sardonic, and maddeningly self-destructive—but she never loses her sharp wit or powers of observation, which illuminate both her own life and her strange, unsettling times.
In Bad Faith, characters flee the trappings of contemporary domestic life. A young father visits a college friend in San Salvador rather than face the anticipated difficult birth of his third child. A boy comes to terms with his fractured family and his disabled father after his soldier mother is stationed overseas. A biracial man journeys across Nebraska for the funeral of his white mother and strikes up an improbable if dishonest relationship with a centenarian Irish woman. And in the collection's title story, the running narrative of a pathetic yet oddly compelling ladies' man culminates in an unexpected and deadly confrontation. In Theodore Wheeler's collection of prize-winning stories, the herd can't always outpace the predator.
The Loss of All Lost Things is a short story collection that illuminates the beauty that can be found in inconsolable loss. Gautier leads us through terrible reality but leaves us with the promise of hope and redemption. Elixir Press Fiction Award judge Phong Nguyen says, "Literary fiction that grips us and won't let us go is notoriously rare. To offer us complex emotional experience and riveting narrative momentum, and then to leave the reader in contemplation of its sophisticated themes and subtle weave of objective correlatives: that is the stuff of literary greatness, of art that demands to be read in conversation with the canon. Gautier's stories have you by the throat, and they surprise you with their mercy."
About Love the Stranger, Josh Bell says, "This is a book of great beauty and of terrible suspicion regarding that beauty. This is a poet of intensifying linguistic gift and of terrible suspicion regarding that gift. Is there, yet, an Auto-Voyeuristic school of poetry? If not, then Jay Deshpande's troubling and gorgeous LOVE THE STRANGER—'watch yourself grow muscle in your failures / and hate it'—could be the founding document."
God In Neon features characters who are linked not only by the characters dependence on alcohol, but at times also by geographical location. These characters exist on the fringes of normal society. What is normal for them--using a bungee cord to tie an invalid father to a window in order to go drinking, engaging in an extreme competition to settle a bet for a classic Camaro, burning up a bar after being told that to have another drink would certify death, et cetera--would be appalling to most. It is in these appalling moments that the stories find the most traction. The collection ultimately shows how similar we all really are when our backs are against the wall and alcohol seems like the only option.
About the Authors:
PAULA WHYMAN has published stories in Ploughshares, McSweeney's Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other literary journals. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. A native of Washington, D.C., she now lives in Maryland.
THEODORE WHEELER is a fiction writer and legal reporter living in Omaha, Nebraska. His short stories have appeared widely in publications such as Best New American Voices, New Stories from the Midwest, Boulevard, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Cincinnati Review,Confrontation, and Five Chapters.
AMINA GAUTIER, PhD., is the author of three award-winning short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy and the The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O'Connor Award, The First Horizon Award, and the Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction Award. Now We Will Be Happy was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, an International Latino Book Award, Finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize, the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Book Award, a USA Best Book Award, and a National Silver Medal IPPY Award. The Loss of All Lost Things was awarded the Elixir Press Award in Fiction, the Royal Palm Literary Award, the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President's Book Award.
JAY DESHPANDE has held residencies at the Saltonstall Arts Colony and the Vermont Studio Center, was a fellowship finalist for the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and was selected by Billy Collins for the 2015 Scotti Merrill Memorial Award at the Key West Literary Seminar. He holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia. Born in Austin, Texas, he now lives in Brooklyn.
SAM SLAUGHTER is a spirits writer living in the New York City area. He received his BA from Elon University and his MA from Stetson University. He writes for The Manual and is work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Heavy Feather Review, and more. He was awarded the 2014 Best of There Will Be Words and his debut chapbook When You Cross That Line was published in May 2015.