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Writers Harvest to benefit Southeastern Ohio Food Bank

ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University's Program in Creative Writing will host a benefit reading by three critically acclaimed writers at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, in Irvine Auditorium.

The program now sponsors Writers Harvest locally, which had been coordinated by the national sponsor, Share Our Strength, since 1992. All proceeds from the $3 admission donation will go to the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank's Second Harvest, a food distribution program serving Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Perry, Meigs, Morgan, Vinton, and Washington Counties since 1984. The Second Harvest of Southeast Ohio Food Bank participates in vital programs to feed the hungry. It served 65,698 families in 2002 and will surpass that number this year. According to Marilyn Sloan, Food Bank Coordinator, the Food Bank has distributed 5.5 million pounds of food so far this year, a 45 percent increase over the previous year.

This year's program features fiction writer Joan Connor, poet Mark Halliday, playwright Charles Smith and actress and director Shelley Delaney.

Connor is director of the Creative Writing Program at Ohio University and the author of three collections of short stories. Her most recent collection, "History Lessons," won the 2002 AWP Award Series in Short Fiction. She has recently been awarded the John Gilgun Award and a 2003 Pushcart Prize.

Halliday is associate professor in Creative Writing at Ohio University. His most recent collection of poems is entitled "Jab." Previous collections include "Little Star," selected for the National Poetry Series, "Tasker Street," winner of the Juniper Prize, and "Selfwolf." He is a recent recipient of the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Smith is head of the Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University and is also playwright in residence at the Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. His work has been produced off Broadway and at regional theatres around the country including The Acting Company's 22-city tour of his play, "Pudd'nhead Wilson." Some of his other plays are: "Takunda," "City of God," "Freefall, Knock Me a Kiss" and "Les Trois Dumas."

Delaney is an assistant professor at the Ohio University School of Theater. As an actress, she has premiered work at the New York Shakespeare Festival's "Plays in Process," La Mama Ensemble Studio Theatre, Circle Rep Lab, and many others. Her film credits include a principal role in Woody Allen's "Radio Days" and several independent films. She has directed two full-length plays and numerous one act plays at the 78th Street Theater Lab in New York City. She is cast in Smith's new play, "A Free Man of Color," premiering in Chicago this winter.

Tickets for Writers Harvest may be purchased at the door of Irvine Auditorium beginning at 7:00 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow the event. For more information, contact the Special Programs Office at 593-4181.

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Media Contact: John Kachuba, Department of English Special Programs Office, (740) 593-4181, or Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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