posted November 18, 2003

Steve Orlen and Kellie Wells to Read

The Hope College Visiting Writers Series will be presenting poet Steve Orlen and this year's winner of the Flannery O' Connor Award for Short Fiction, Kellie Wells, on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Wells's first short story collection, "Compression Scars," not only won the O'Connor award but also won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award and was a finalist for the Dove Heinz Prize. Wells has also garnered the Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers, the only fiction writer to do so this year.

Writer Peter Ho Davies has described Wells's writing as "slyly comic, yet deeply felt," noting that her fiction "embraces the sacred weirdness of everyday life."

Currently Wells is completing her second novel, "Fat Girl, Terrestrial." She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her doctorate in English and creative writing from Western Michigan University.

Orlen is the author of six volumes of poetry, including "This Particular Eternity," published in 2001. Orlen's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and been widely anthologized. The winner of three National Endowment for the Arts grants, Orlen was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999.His previous books include "Permission to Speak," "A Place At the Table" and "The Bridge of Sighs." Orlen currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson and in the low-residency program at Warren Wilson College.

"Orlen is a wonderful poet and one of the best practitioners of free verse writing today," writer Stephen Dobyns has said.

The Hope College Jazz Ensemble will precede the reading with a 6:30 p.m. performance.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.