What a great time was had by all at the 25th Annual Story Week, eight days of events put together by and supported by the Fiction Dept. at Columbia College. The topic this year was “Surviving the American Dream.” Chicago was alive with fiction. I felt fortunate to be a special guest, along with Heidi W. Durrow, Dagoberto Gilb, Young Jean Lee, Samuel Park, John Sayles, Christine Sneed, Nami Mun and Patricia Ann McNair, along with the whole fiction dept. at Columbia. Here’s the link:
If you missed it this year, be sure to catch it in March 2013.
The Columbia folks put me up in a great penthouse apartment, which afforded me a 270 degree view of the city, and because the weather was unseasonably warm, I got to hang around outside on the roof. The above photo is taken by Jason Pettus of the Chicago Literature and Photography Center, and you can hear his 45-minute unedited interview with me here:
Here’s a night photo I managed to inexpertly take with my own camera.
I shared my fabulous penthouse apartment with an artist couple, Loy McWhirter and Bruce Greene. Loy McWhirter is an artist and musician who was at Columbia for the Book Arts Department, and she showed me her homemade scrabble game. Isn’t it gorgeous? Bruce Greene is a fiddler from North Carolina. Here’s his old tyme music hall of fame page: http://www.oldtimemusic.com/FHOFGreene.html
This is a photo with Cyn Vargas, one of the brilliant Columbia College graduate students who took my mini-course on modular fiction.
This was a fun bunch of Columbia students who stayed after my reading to apply American Salvage Tattoos.
Here’s a big fan, Alex Kretchmar, who wanted a signature, but didn’t have his book with him.
And then there were the official events. Don DeGrazia interviewed me in the afternoon, and we talked about sex, among other things. In the evening, Donna Seaman, Booklist editor, and interviewer extraordinaire, raked me over the coals and made me answer the hard questions. (Actually, I’m kidding. Donna Seaman, who has a radio show on WBEZ, is the smartest reviewer and kindest person in the literary world) Also, it was great to be on a panel with Patricia McNair, Christine Sneed, Samuel Park, and Nami Mun. I’m wondering why I didn’t get any photos of those events.
Samuel Park did get some photos and he put up a great blog about Story Week that includes a detailed account of our panel: http://samuelpark.com/2012/04/15/storyweek-festival-of-writers-16/
I want to thank Randy Albers and the whole fiction department for making Story Week happen, and for giving me the opportunity to work with Columbia’s graduate and undergraduate students. Cheers!
Below is one more photo from my penthouse, showing how the El Train looks.
And here’s Unca Terry on the roof, looking over Terry’s Alma mater, Roosevelt University.