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Davis, California

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Two hours with the faces behind the stories

Sometimes a story or an article can leave you wanting more, wondering where the ideas came from, what they mean and how to go about accomplishing something like it by yourself.

The University Writing Program has opened up the opportunity to discover these answers with the Conversations with Writers Speakers Series. Faculty members work to bring speakers to the campus that have influenced them in some way or that they feel have beneficial and interesting knowledge to share.

“The purpose of the event is to bring influential authors off of the page and into the lives of local community members,said Postdoctoral Lecturer in English Shellie Banga.Our speakers discuss the craft of writing and participate in a discussion about their work.

Two writers have already participated in the series: Eugene H. Robinsonan associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post and a recent Pulitzer Prize winnerand author Greg Orfalea who is promoting his new book, a collection of memoirs entitled Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics.

These are excellent and successful authors who will talk about their work and their careers,said Gary Goodman, the writing minor and internship faculty advisor.They will be of interest especially to aspiring writers and to people interested in the topics they write about.

Still to come are travel writer William Least Heat-Moon and novelist, critic and short-story writer Alan Cheuse. Least Heat-Moon will be speaking on Monday Oct. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. while Alan Cheuse will be speaking on Tuesday Oct. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. in 126 Voorhies.

Banga said the talks have been set in a moreintimate venue rather than a large, formal lecture setting because we want to encourage a conversation about writing.

Least Heat-Moon is known for his recounting and observations of the sometimes hidden and surprising aspects of life in America through both his writing and photography. He’s written several works in this genre including Blue Highways: A Journey into America, PrairyErth: (a deep map) and River-Horse: Across America by Boat. He is currently promoting a new book: Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey.

In addition to having his work published in both The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle, Cheuse has two works that have been published recently:A Trance after Breakfast,which is a collection of travel narratives and a novel entitled To Catch the Lightening.

“Alan Cheuse is best known as the book reviewer for National Public Radio, but he is a noted novelist, short story writer, travel writer and critic, as well as an outstanding teacher of writing,said University Writing Program director Chris Thaiss.

This series allows for some very unique interactions with writers whose talents and experience span a broad range of topics.

“We’re bringing in writers who write about science, we’re bringing in journalists, we’re bringing in novelists, we’re bringing in science-fiction writers,said Sasha Abramsky, a University Writing Program lecturer.Our aim is really to explore the written world.


ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.



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