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Sept. 11: Good Thunder Reading Series

Creative nonfiction writer Susan Orlean is the first featured guest in the 33rd annual Good Thunder Reading Series.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of English News Release, 8-26-2014

Mankato, Minn. -- Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Good Thunder Reading Series will host 15 writers over nine residencies during its 33nd annual program. Aimed at reflecting the diversity and vitality of contemporary writing, the series invites both emerging and established writers to Mankato to meet with community writers and readers, be interviewed on public radio, lead discussions on the craft of writing, and read from their published works.

The series opens on Sept. 11 with bestselling author of "Rin Tin Tin" and "The Orchid Thief," nonfiction writer Susan Orlean. An engaging and unforgettable speaker, Orlean lectures on her encounters with extraordinary people, her experiences traveling the world, the value of ignorance, and women and the media.

The Oct. 2 reading features award-winning poet Matthew Dickman, author of Mayakovsky’s "Revolver," and fiction writer Daniel Alarcón, whose story collection "War by Candlelight" was a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award.

On Oct. 30, Mankato nonfiction writer Elizabeth Horneber, the 2014–2015 Andreas Graduate Assistant, will read with U.S. Poet Laureate (1995–1997) Robert Hass, whose collection "Time and Materials" won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

The fall offerings will wrap up on Nov. 20 with Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of "Once Upon a River," a bestselling novel that the New York Times Book Review describes as "an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom."

On Jan. 29 poet Traci Brimhall, whose book "Rookery" won the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, will read with Ed Skoog, author of two collections of poetry, "Mister Skylight" and "Rough Day."

The Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Residency will take place on Feb. 17–20. It features Arizona poet Natalie Diaz and Minnesota novelist Danielle Sosin. Both writers will participate in residency activities as well as visit local high schools.

On March 19, poet and prose writer Chris Abani will read. His work has received the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, a California Book Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award.

The Robert Wright Minnesota Writer residency on April 16 will showcase work from Mankato poet Yer Thao, winner of the Robert Wright Award, and Minneapolis novelist Sheila O’Connor, author of "Tokens of Grace."

The spring offerings will conclude on April 24 with a Minnesota State Mankato MFA faculty reading featuring poet and creative nonfiction writer Richard Terrill, author of "Coming Late to Rachmaninoff," and poet Richard Robbins, whose most recent book is "Other Americas."

All events are open to the public and will be held on the Minnesota State Mankato campus in the Centennial Student Union. Most series guests will be interviewed on KMSU-FM 89.7 and have their discussions broadcast as part of the “Authors in Transit” series at 1 p.m. on the day of the event and 11 p.m. the Friday immediately following. Most talks, readings, and interviews will be later archived on the series web site.

The Good Thunder Reading Series began in 1982 and has committed itself since to programs that balance emerging and established talent drawn from Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, and the rest of the nation.

This year’s Good Thunder Reading Series is funded by the Minnesota State Mankato Department of English, the College of Arts and Humanities, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment, the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Endowment, the Robert C. Wright Endowment, and individual donors. This activity is in part made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Minnesota State Mankato Library Services and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Minnesota State Mankato offer additional assistance.

Series contact: Diana Joseph, director,, 507-389-5144

Series website:

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