The Salt Lake City Arts Council and Artists of Utah are collaborating on a reading series that features writers who live within the state of Utah. Curated by David G. Pace, Literary Editor of Artists of Utah’s online magazine 15 Bytes, the Finch Lane Gallery Reading Series will bring together emerging writers who have won local writing awards, such as the Utah Original Writing Competition, and established local authors. This brings general recognition to writers, not just recognition of the award they have won, a place for writers to network with working authors, and a space where content and craft are discussed with a public audience.
“Taking a look at the local literary scene, I noted that there were fewer places for local, unpublished writers to have an audience to listen to their work,” said Kandace Steadman, Visual and Literary Arts Program Manager for the Salt Lake City Arts Council. “I brought my observations to Shawn Rossiter, editor of 15 Bytes, which regularly reviews Utah fiction and poetry and has an annual book award. The idea snowballed, we got David Pace involved, and the reading series took shape.”
The first reading is scheduled for Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Finch Lane Gallery. Melanie Rae Thon will read a short excerpt from her recent work, followed by Eric Robertson, who won the first place award in fiction at the 2015 Utah Arts & Museums Original Writing Competition for his novel Salted Earth. Pace will introduce the event and lead a question-and-answer session.
Melanie Rae Thon’s most recent books are Silence & Song, The 7th Man, and The Good Samaritan Speaks. Originally from Montana, Melanie now lives in Salt Lake City, where she teaches in the Creative Writing and Environmental Humanities programs at the University of Utah. She was just awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Eric Robertson is a humanities instructor at Utah Valley University as well as a founding editor of the new environmental humanities literary and art journal saltfront. He holds an MA in environmental humanities from the University of Utah. He explores the post-human condition through the critical lens of queer ecology surrounded by Utah’s beautiful mountains and red deserts, and her rapidly, painfully morphing communities of Mormons. He deals in odd creative and critical combinations—religion and bodily waste, human disability and animals, the sublime and madness, beauty and social reordering. He publishes scholarly articles in ecocriticism and queer theory and writes short stories, screenplays, and creative nonfiction. The Salted Earth is his first novel.
Additional readings are slated for later this year.
The Finch Lane Gallery Reading Series is a collaboration between the Salt Lake City Arts Council and Artists of Utah. Major funding comes from a grant from Utah Humanities, with support offered by the Salt Lake City Arts Council and Artists of Utah.