posted September 3, 2009

Hope Announces 2009-10 Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series will continue to bring some of the top writers in the nation to Hope College for the 2009-10 season.

All readings begin a 7 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland. The public is invited to all of the readings, and admission is free.

°  The series will open on Thursday, Sept. 17, with poet Gregory Orr.  Orr is the author of several books, including nine collections of poetry and a highly acclaimed collection of essays, "Poetry as Survival." His most recent volume, "How Beautiful the Beloved," contains short poems that are, according to "Publishers Weekly," "compact missives addressing in the most direct language possible many of humanity's most dire needs and fears."

°  Monday, Oct. 12, will feature Don Waters, who won the 2009 Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award for his collection of stories, "Desert Gothic," which also won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Waters has received numerous fellowships and honors for his writing, including the Pushcart Prize and the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Also reading on Monday, Oct. 12, will be Aracelis Girmay, who won the 2009 Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award for "Teeth," a collection of poetry that reflects her Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African American traditions. She is also the author of a book for children, "Changing, Changing: Story and Collages," published in 2005.

°  Pulitzer Prize finalist Susan Choi, who will read on Thursday, Nov. 12, is a novelist who, according to Ron Charles of the "Washington Post," "looks for essential American characters in the most peculiar places." Her second novel, Pulitzer Prize finalist "American Woman," is a fictionalized account of the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and her most recent book, "A Person of Interest," combines elements of the Unabomber case and the U.S. government's investigation of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee.

°  Reading on Thursday, Feb. 4, will be Melissa Delbridge, who won the Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award for "Family Bible," her critically acclaimed memoir of growing up along the banks of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, Ala. In a starred review, "Booklist" calls the memoir "as much a cultural history of the South as a history of [Delbridge's] own life."

°  "Wind in a Box," the latest poetry collection by Terrance Hayes, who will read on Tuesday, March 9, was named by "Publishers Weekly" as one of the best 100 books of 2006. His other books of poetry are "Muscular Music," which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and "Hip Logic," which won the National Poetry Series Open Competition.

°  Closing the season on Monday, April 12, will be fiction writer George Saunders, author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling "Pastoralia;" "Civil War Land in Bad Decline," a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; and "In Persuasion Nation," a finalist for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. "Pastoralia" and "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" were both "New York Times" Notable Books. In 2006, Saunders was awarded both a MacArthur Fellowship (the "Genius Grant") and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Each reading will be preceded by a performance by Hope College Jazz Ensemble at the Knickerbocker beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Additional information may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/vws.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.