Aspen Summer Words


(May 13, 2009) Aspen, CO … Join us this summer as the Aspen Writers’
Foundation (AWF) travels across landscapes, countries and continents,
redefining borders and weaving a colorful tapestry of stories from
around the world. From June 21-26, the AWF, in partnership with
Explore Booksellers and thanks to a generous gift from Cheryl and Sam
Wyly, presents the 33rd annual Aspen Summer Words Writing Retreat and
Literary Festival at the Doerr-Hosier Center on the grounds of the
Aspen Institute.

In recognition of the 5th anniversary of the literary heritage
festival, this year’s theme will fly under the banner, “World of
Words” and will celebrate presenters from a variety of countries such
as Ireland, Kenya, Egypt, India, Mexico, Sierra Leon, Nigeria, and the
United States. The Festival will feature literary all-stars including
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ishmael Beah, David Davidar, Hallie Ephron,
Gary Ferguson, Dana Gioia, Walter Isaacson, Scott Lasser, William
Loizeaux, Colum McCann, Christopher Merrill, Catherine O’Connell,
Pamela Painter, Nic Pizzolatto, Mohamed Salmawy, Shashi Tharoor, Luis
Alberto Urrea, Binyavanga Wainaina, and the 2009 Aspen Prize for
Literature recipient, Ron Carlson. The weeklong series of events
offers unprecedented readings and panel discussions with some of the
best literary talent from around the world.

As part of Aspen Summer Words, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation will
honor author, teacher, and friend, Ron Carlson with the 2009 Aspen
Prize for Literature, sponsored the Bedell World Citizenship Fund
(BWCF). Carlson is the author of eight books of fiction, including A
Kind of Flying, the novels The Speed of Light and Five Skies (which
was the One Book Rhode Island choice for 2009), and his new novel The
Signal. His short stories have appeared in several journals including
Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Epoch, and
The North American Review, as well as The Best American Short Stories,
The O’Henry Prize Series, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton
Anthology of Short Fiction and dozens of other anthologies. Among his
awards are a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction,
the Cohen Prize at Ploughshares, and a National Society of Arts and
Letters Literature Award. He currently directs the graduate fiction
program at the University of California, Irvine. Past recipients of
the Aspen Prize for Literature include Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa
Thiong’o, N. Scott Momaday, Paul Muldoon, Edna Obrien, and Salman

·    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Nigerian author of Half of a Yellow
Sun, Purple Hibiscus and the forthcoming The Thing Around Your Neck;
recipient of the Orange Prize, an O. Henry Prize, and a MacArthur
·    Ishmael Beah: Sierra Leonean author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs
of a Boy Soldier, a New York Times bestseller that has been published
in over 34 languages and named one of the Top Ten Nonfiction books of
2007 by Time magazine
·    David Davidar: Prize-winning author of The House of Blue Mangoes,
a New York Times Notable Book that was translated into 16 languages,
and The Solitude of Emperors, which was shortlisted for the
Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
·    Hallie Ephron: Author of Never Tell a Lie, Writing and Selling
Your Novel, and 1001 Books for Every Mood, and co-author of five
additional psychological mysteries
·    Gary Ferguson: Award-winning author of 16 books including, Hawks
Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, the first
nonfiction work in history to win both the Pacific Northwest
Booksellers Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for
·    Dana Gioia: Former Chairman of the NEA, poet, critic, and author
of Can Poetry Matter?, which was a National Book Critics Circle
finalist, and Interrogations at Noon, which won the American Book
·    Walter Isaacson: President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and
author of four books of nonfiction including, Einstein: His Life and
Universe, and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
·    Scott Lasser: Local author of All I Could Get, Battle Creek,
andthe forthcoming, The Year That Follows
·    William Loizeaux: Award-winning professor at John Hopkins
University and author of two memoirs: The Shooting of Rabbit Wells and
Anna: A Daughter’s Life, which was a New York Times Notable Book
·    Colum McCann: Bestselling and award-winning Irish author of six
novels that have been published in 26 languages including, Zoli,
Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Let the Great World Spin, which
makes its world debut in Aspen this summer
·    Christopher Merrill: Author of four collections of poetry
including, Brilliant Water and Watch Fire; journalist, critic, and
director of the International Writing Program at The University of
·    Catherine O’Connell: Chicago native author of three books
including, Skins, Well Bred and Dead, and the latest, Well Read and
·    Pamela Painter: Author of two short story collections: winner of
the GLCA Award for First Fiction, Getting to Know the Weather and The
Long and Short of It; faculty member at Emerson College
·    Nic Pizzolatto: Finalist for the National Magazine Award in
Fiction, and the author of the short story collection, Between Here
and the Yellow Sea; his first novel, Galveston, is forthcoming
·    Mohamed Salmawy: One of Egypt’s most prolific writers,
playwright, novelist, columnist, critic and political commentator;
president of the Egyptian Writers’ Union, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram
Hebdo, and a columnist for Al-Ahram
·    Shashi Tharoor: Prize-winning author of eleven books of fiction
and non-fiction, including The Great Indian Novel; widely published
critic and columnist; and former Under-Secretary of the United Nations
·    Luis Alberto Urrea: Latino Literature Hall of Fame member and
American Book Award winner – author of 13 books, including The
Hummingbird’s Daughter, The Devil’s Highway and the forthcoming Into
The Beautiful North
·    Binyavanga Wainaina: Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the
Caine Prize for African Writing; Founding Editor of Kwani – a leading
Kenyan magazine; and author of the travel/memoir book, Discovering

Aspen Summer Words offers booklovers rare opportunities for intimate
dialogue with authors, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the publishing
industry and lively interaction between readers and writers. Over the
course of five full days, passholders may indulge in a dozen literary
events (author readings, artist conversations, craft talks, and panel
discussions), attend parties, participate in open mic events, take
yoga classes, and with their mornings off, still have time to enjoy
Aspen’s enviable recreational, sightseeing, dining and shopping
prospects. Some highlights from the program of over two-dozen
different events include:
·    This year, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation is partnering with the
Colorado Center for the Book, a program of Colorado Humanities to
present the annual Colorado Book Awards as part of Aspen Summer Words.
This special event celebrates the accomplishments of Colorado’s
literary community and recognizes outstanding authors while promoting
those authors to Colorado readers. The Colorado Book Awards will be
presented on Monday, June 22nd and will be followed by a book signing
reception including all Summer Words presenters and Colorado Book
Award Winners & Finalists at the Doerr-Hosier Center on the Aspen
Meadows Campus.
·    The World Premier of bestselling and award-winning Irish author
Colum McCann’s new novel, Let the Great World Spin. McCann will
present a public keynote address on Tuesday, June 23rd, at 5 pm at the
Doerr-Hosier Center on the Aspen Meadows Campus, followed by a
ticketed dinner, Carte du Monde, benefitting the education programs of
the AWF.
·    Four more books will make their Aspen debut during Summer Words,
including Chimamanda Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck, Ron
Carlson’s The Signal, Luis Alberto Urrea’s, Into the Beautiful North,
and Scott Lasser’s The Year That Follows.

In addition to having the afternoons and evenings centered around the
festival, the morning writing retreat offers beginning to advanced
five-day workshops and two-day classes to pre-registered Summer Words
students. Among the writing retreat faculty are celebrated
author-educators: Ron Carlson (Advanced Fiction), Hallie Ephron
(Fiction), Gary Ferguson (Magazine & Nature Writing), William Loizeaux
(Narrative Nonfiction), Christopher Merrill (Poetry), Pamela Painter
(Advanced Fiction), and Nic Pizzolatto (Beginning Fiction). Back by
popular demand is the Readers’ Retreat with David Davidar, a two-day
literature appreciation course, this year covering the writing and
works of the “World of Words” Festival presenters. In addition, Dana
Gioia will moderate a one-day symposium, “Reading, Literature, and
Democracy” on Friday, June 26th.

The Aspen Summer Words Writing Retreat and Literary Festival will take
place at the Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen’s state-of-the-art conference
center, located on the Aspen Meadows Campus at the Aspen Institute.
Festival passes, good for all Festival events throughout the week, are
$150 for Retreat students and AWF and Aspen Institute members / $200
for individuals. More Information and festival passes are available
through the Aspen Writers’ Foundation online or 970.925.3122. Single
tickets go on sale beginning June 1st through Aspen Show Tickets at
the Wheeler Opera House: / 920.5770. Discount
lodging for all Summer Words participants is available at the Aspen
Meadows, 1.800.452.4240.

The Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Colorado’s oldest nonprofit literary
arts organization and a program of the Aspen Institute, has been
bringing readers and writers together since 1976. The organization’s
mission is to provide programs that encourage writers in their craft
and readers in their appreciation of literature. Through its
repertoire of eight year-round programs, the Aspen Writers’ Foundation
annually serves 20,000 literary enthusiasts of all ages. More
information is available at 970.925.3122 and

Nicole Hernandez
Marketing + Communications Coordinator
Aspen Writers’ Foundation
970.925.3122 ext. 2#


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