UND Writers Conference Features ‘Great Conversation’ With Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Jane Smiley Tonight

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jane Smiley will be the featured guest of a Great Conversation at 8 p.m., tonight, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium, with moderator Sally Pyle, director of UND’s Honors program. Smiley also will participate in a panel discussion today at noon, with fellow authors Mark Doty, Pam Houston, Brenda Miller and Lee Ann Roripaugh. Colleen Berry, a professor in the UND languages department, will moderate.

Smiley headlines another stellar group of literary laureates this week at the University of North Dakota’s 43rd Annual Writers Conference, which has been bringing legends of pen and verse, such as William S. Burroughs, Alex Haley, N. Scott Momaday and Salman Rushdie, to the Red River Valley since 1970. Here is a link to the other feature authors at this year’s Writers Conference, including former Grand Forks resident Aaron Poochigian: http://www.undwritersconference.org/wc-authors.html

The theme of this year’s conference is “Humanimal,” a scholarly investigation of the connections and interactions between humans and the animal world. The Conference began Tuesday and will hold events on campus through Saturday. Unless otherwise noted, all Writers Conference readings and panels will take place in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Films will be show in the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl. All events are free and open to the public.

Smiley, who hails from Los Angeles, grew up in St. Louis and now raises horses in northern California, is the author of numerous novels, including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Moo, Horse Heaven, Good Faith, Ten Days in the Hills, and the young adult novel, The Georges and the Jewels. She also written essays for magazines such as Vogue, The New Yorker, Practical Horseman, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Allure and The Nation. She has written on politics, farming, horse training, child-rearing, literature, impulse buying, getting dressed, Barbie and marriage. She is also the author of nonfiction books A Year at the Races and Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2006, she received the PEN?USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Heidi Czerwiec, associate professor, UND Department of English, co-director, UND Writers Conference, 701.777.2768, or at heidi.cerwiec@email.und.edu

Crystal Alberts, assistant professor, UND Department of English, co-director, UND Writers Conference, 701.777.2393, or at crystal.alberts@email.und.edu

Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor, UND Office of University Relations, 701.777.6571, or at juan.pedraza@email.und.edu