Ucross is pleased to announce that award-winning author Lisa Ko will give a reading at Sheridan College on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Ko, who is currently in residence at Ucross, will read from her acclaimed novel The Leavers. A discussion and book signing will follow. The event, which is co-hosted by Sheridan College and Ucross, will take place from 7-8pm in Whitney Academic Center W153. It is free and open to the public as part of the statewide “Explore Hemingway” series.
Among many honors, The Leavers was a 2017 National Book Award for Fiction finalist and won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. The book was also a finalist for the 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2017 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. A vivid and moving portrayal of borders and belonging, The Leavers opens as a boy’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. The novel traces the story of how the boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away—and how one woman learns to live with the mistakes of her past. More information can be found at lisa-ko.com.
The New York Times praised the novel as “ambitious…Lisa Ko has taken the headlines and has reminded us that beyond them lie messy, brave, extraordinary, ordinary lives.” Barbara Kingsolver called it “courageous, sensitive, and perfectly of this moment,” adding that “The Leavers is everything I could hope for in a winner of the Bellwether Prize.”
This special literary evening with Ko will be moderated by Sarah Sinclair, an English Instructor at Sheridan College who has moderated multiple “Explore Hemingway” reading events, as well as a recent discussion with award-winning writer Elizabeth Gilbert (also a Ucross Fellow) during The Sheridan Press’s 2019 FAB Women’s Conference.
Ucross has partnered with the PEN/Hemingway Award – founded by Mary Hemingway, wife of Ernest
Hemingway – since 1995, and invites the award winner, two runners-up and two honorable mentions for one-month residencies at Ucross. The award is administered by PEN America.
“Ucross has supported 65 PEN/Hemingway honorees at a crucial stage of their writing careers,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We are thrilled that Lisa is here for a residency and grateful that she will read at Sheridan College from her beautiful and moving first novel.”
Ko was born in New York, the first of her family to be born in the U.S., and raised in New Jersey. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, O. Magazine, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony, among others.
The event is part of the “Explore Hemingway” series sponsored by a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, titled “Creating Humanities Communities along Wyoming’s Hemingway Highway.” It is a multi-year initiative that explores Hemingway’s continuing relevance, both in contemporary literature and as an icon. The grant was awarded to Sheridan College in partnership with the Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, and Ucross.
Recent “Explore Hemingway” events include public talks by PEN/Hemingway Award honorees and Ucross Fellows Yaa Gyasi, Kevin Powers, Suki Kim, and Sigrid Nunez, along with writer, editor and teacher Darla Worden. Other events have included a fundraiser at the Sheridan Inn featuring Phil Greene, author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, and a Hemingway-themed “Saturday U” campus event at Sheridan College. The Hemingway Society will host its 19th biennial international conference in Wyoming and Montana in July of 2020.
Located in northeast Wyoming in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains, while serving as a responsible steward of its 20,000-acre ranch. Residencies are awarded to nearly one hundred artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers.
Since its establishment in 1981, Ucross has provided more than 2,000 residencies to writers, visual artists, and composers, including such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and recent National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez. National partners of Ucross include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, the Alliance of Artist Communities, and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. The Ucross Foundation Art Gallery is a significant cultural resource for surrounding communities and beyond. For further information, visit ucross.org.