Bachelder, Hopler Join 2017 Winter With the Writers

Winter With the Writers at Rollins College has added National Book Award finalists Chris Bachelder and Jay Hopler to its 2017 lineup this February.

Thanks to a partnership with the National Book Foundation, Winter With the Writers will host National Book Award (NBA) finalists Chris Bachelder and Jay Hopler.

Rollins College is the Southeast’s sole representative of the NBA On Campus program. This is the second year in a row that Rollins and the foundation have partnered to promote contemporary literature and bring the Best of American literature to the forefront.

“The program last year featuring National Book Award finalists Sy Montgomery and Ross Gay was a tryout of sorts to see if the foundation’s and the College’s hunches were right—that our partnership would help to enhance the cultural value of America’s great writing,” says Carol Frost, the director of Winter With the Writers and Alfond Professor of English.

The result is a continued commitment to the partnership. NBA finalists Chris Bachelder and Jay Hopler will visit Rollins for master classes and readings on February 23.

Chris Bachelder’s book The Throwback Special reveals the joy, rituals, and insecurities of a group of men, who meet each year to re-enact a football play in a game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins that aired on Monday Night Football.

The Abridged History of Rainfall, Jay Hopler’s collection of poems, is a mourning song for his father, set in Florida’s subtropics, the streets of Rome, Umbria, and the American West. Its fundamental question is how to handle a great loss.

The National Book Foundation’s new executive director Lisa Lucas will also join the finalists on February 22–23 to observe its partnership with Winter With the Writers. Lucas will speak at Lowndes Shakespeare Theater in Orlando to address notions of literature and community and a well-read nation.

Notably, among the six festival writers of the 2017 Winter With the Writers season, four have ties to Florida.

“On very real, if different levels, they are local to Florida,” Frost says. “Susan Orlean’s breakout book is centered in South Florida. Peter Meinke is the poet laureate of Florida. The Florida Humanities Council awarded David Kirby a Lifetime Achievement Award. Jay Hopler teaches in Tampa, and before he decided to devote himself to poetry, his design was to be a fishing guide in Florida. There isn’t a lesson for writers and for readers more compelling than what is local and individual can become nationally recognized.”

2017 Winter With the Writers Season At A Glance

 

Susan Orlean
February 1–2

Susan Orlean has worked as a staff writer for The New York Times, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, a writer for OutsideEsquireThe Boston Globe, and more. Among her many books is The Orchid Thief, a national bestseller about a charming conniver who was once convicted of attempting to steal endangered orchids. Orlean’s elegant personal journalism inspired Adaptation, an Academy Award-winning film.

February 1
6:15 p.m.:  Screening of Adaptation, Enzian Theatre

February 2
4 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Reading, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium
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David Kirby
February 9

David Kirby's collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Kirby is the author of Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His latest poetry collection is Get Up, Please. He teaches at Florida State University, where he is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English. Kirby’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2016, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Humanities Council.

4 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Joint reading with Peter Meinke, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium
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Peter Meinke
February 9

Peter Meinke is Poet Laureate of Florida. His work has received many national awards, among them are two NEA Fellowships, a Fulbright Professorship, and three awards from the Poetry Society of America. His most recent books are The Expert Witness (2016), a collection of short stories, The Elf Poem (2015), a children’s book, and Lucky Bones (2014), his eighth collection in the prestigious Pitt Poetry series. Last year he received the SunLit Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award for “his outstanding contribution to letters.”

2 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Joint reading with David Kirby, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium
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Chris Abani
February 16

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, screenwriter, poet, essayist, and playwright. Currently residing in Chicago, he was born in Nigeria. His most recent work of fiction, The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014), was nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award. His other works of fiction include Song for Night (2007), Becoming Abigail (2006), and Masters of the Board (1985). His poetry collections include Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), and Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010). He has received many awards and honors, including the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, just to name a few.

4 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Reading, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium
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Winter Wtih the Writer and Functionally Literate Present 
Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation
February 22

Prior to joining the foundation, Lisa Lucas served as the publisher of Guernica, a nonprofit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. She also served as Director of Education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks en Filmmaking. She also serves on the literary council the Brooklyn Book Festival.

8 p.m.: Lowndes Shakespeare Theater, 812 E. Rollins Street, Orlando, FL, 32803

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National Book Award Finalist
Jay Hopler
February 23

Jay Hopler is the author of Green Squall and the editor (with Kimberly Johnson) of Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry. The recipient of, among other awards and prizes, the Yale Series of Younger Poet Award, the Great Lake Colleges Association New Writers Award, a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Rome Prize in Literature, he teaches in the writing program at the University of South Florida. The Abridged History of Rainfall, published in 2016 (McSweeney's), is described by the National Book Awards Poetry Committee as “an elegy of uproar, a careening hymn to disaster and it’s aftermath” for a father.

2 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Joint reading, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium

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National Book Award Finalist
Chris Bachelder
February 23

Chris Bachelder is the author of the novels Bear v. Shark, U.S.!Abbott Awaits, and most recently, The Throwback Special, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction and the winner of The Paris Review's Terry Southern Prize for humor. His novels have been translated into five languages, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney's, The New York Times, Harper's, The Oxford American, The Massachusetts Review, Subtropics, and other magazines and anthologies. Bachelder received his MFA in writing from the University of Florida, and he taught fiction writing at New Mexico State, Colorado College, the University of Massachusetts, and since 2011, at the University of Cincinnati. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Cincinnati.

4 p.m.: Master class, SunTrust Auditorium
7:30 p.m.: Joint reading, on-stage interview, and signing, Bush Auditorium