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Spring Literary Festival recruits award-winning authors

ATHENS, Ohio (April 29, 2005) -- The 20th annual Spring Literary Festival will be held May 11-13 on the Athens campus of Ohio University. This year's festival features five highly acclaimed, award-winning writers: poets, Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Gregory Orr; nonfiction writers, Ellen Willis and Leonard Kriegel; and fiction writer, Marilynne Robinson.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly's most recent collection, "The Orchard" (2004), was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Kelly's previous collection, "Song" (1995), was the 1994 Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly's many honors include a "Discovery/The Nation Award," the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Pushcart Prize, the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest and a Whiting Writers Award, as well as fellowships from the Illinois State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey Council on the Arts. In addition, her work was chosen for the 1993 and 1994 volumes of "The Best American Poetry." Kelly is a professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Gregory Orr recently released his eighth collection of poetry, "The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems" (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). Among Orr's other volumes of poetry are "Orpheus and Eurydice" (2001) and "City of Salt" (1995), which was a finalist for the LA Times' Poetry Prize. His memoir, "The Blessing" (Council Oak Books, 2002), was chosen by Publisher's Weekly as one of the fifty best nonfiction books of 2002.

In 2005, Copper Canyon will bring out Orr's ninth collection, "Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved." He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1975 and was the founder and first director of its MFA Program in Writing.

Critic Ellen Willis has received much attention for her provocative writings on the counterculture, religion, feminism and neo-conservatism. She has performed editing and writing duties at The New Yorker, Us, "Ms., The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. In addition, she has contributed numerous articles to publications such as the New York Review of Books, Commentary, New American Review and the New York Times Book Review."

Willis is the author of the essay collections "Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll" (1992), "No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays" (1993), and "Don't Think, Smile!: Notes on a Decade of Denial" (1999). Willis is a professor of Journalism at New York University and directs the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program. She is a Freda Kirchwey fellow of the Nation Institute.

Self-proclaimed "cripple" Leonard Kriegel contracted polio as a child and this event remains central to his life and work. His most recent work, "Flying Solo: Reimagining Manhood, Courage, and Loss" (1998), is an exploration of masculinity and responsibility in modern culture. His nonfiction collections include "Of Man and Manhood" (1979), and "Falling Into Life" (1991).

Kriegel's essay, "Hands: An Obsession" was published in "Best American Essays 2004." He has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, a Rockefeller fellowship and was a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Leiden. Additionally, he held teaching appointments at Long Island University, the University of Groningen and the University of Paris. Kriegel has recently retired from City College of the City University of New York, after nearly forty years as a professor of English.

Marilynne Robinson's new novel, "Gilead," won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Prize for fiction. "Gilead" was recently named among the New York Times' Top Ten Books of 2004. Robinson's first novel, "Housekeeping," was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition to "Gilead" and "Housekeeping," Robinson is the author of a number of scholarly works, including "Puritans and Prigs" (1999), "The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought" (1998) and "Mother Country: Britain, the Nuclear State, and Nuclear Pollution" (1989). Marilynne Robinson currently teaches fiction writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

The Program in Creative Writing of the Department of English will sponsor the Spring Literary Festival. All events are open to the public and will be held in the Walter Hall rotunda free of charge. For more information, contact the Special Programs Office at (740) 593-4181 or visit www.english.ohiou.edu/litfest.  

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Media Contact: Special Programs Coordinator Jean Cunningham, (740) 593-4181

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