Sunday, March 23, 2008

Story Week Afterglow

Each March the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago puts on an electrifying writing festival. This year was radiant. I had the profound pleasure of sharing a stage with Chitra Divakaruni, a writer of fluent imaginative and spiritual intent. Chitra was exceptionally giving in her disclosures and in talking about the endless conundrums and efforts of writing, quite hilarious. I'm so grateful to Chitra for her spellbinding and compassionate books and generous nature. I heard Aimee Bender and Cristina Garcia read, exceptionally smart and inventive and funny writers. I met the uniquely talented and adventurous and inspiriting Hillary Carlip. Queen of the Oddballs and intrepid creator of A La Cart, Hillary is also the web design genius behind Open Books Radio, and it was an absolute joy to meet her. We did conduct an Open Books interview, coming to this web site soon!

Hillary was part of the culminating literary rock-and-roll event that brings Story Week to its grandly rambunctious crescendo. Hillary and ZZ Packer and Colin Channer and Junot Diaz and the empress of literary programs and pizazz, my dear friend Sheryl Johnston. And Randy Albers, big-hearted and brilliant director of this exuberant and inspiring and supportive fiction department, who presented me with the Story Week Achievement Award. I'm so proud of this, and so astonished by this, I'm quoting the plaque because, well, because I'm still trying to internalize it.

"For excellence in writing, for promoting 'the fine art of reading,' and for creative contributions to Story Week."

Long live Story Week. Hugs and kisses to all.

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