Aspen Times Weekly: The Novelists Next Door
Marcia Butler began her classical music career as an oboe student at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 1974. During her second act, as a writer, she returned to workshop a novel at Aspen Summer Words in 2015 and later that year worked in Woody Creek for a month as an Aspen Words writer in residence. In May, she came back for a series of events celebrating her revelatory new memoir, “The Skin Above My Knee.”
Reflecting on how the local literary nonprofit’s programs have shaped her writing and her career in a blog post last month, Butler wrote: “Simply put, Aspen Words has changed my life.”
In the four years since Aspen Words revamped its residency program and began bringing writers out to Woody Creek, it’s created a haven for international writers and a godsend to for local readers who attend the illuminating free talks from resident writers (formerly held at the Woody Creek Community Center, these days hosted at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen).
The books that have come out of the program in recent years could already fill a bookshelf. Among some of the recent titles are Rowan Ricardo Phillips’ poetry collection “Heaven,” which responded directly to his winter here, Adam Haslett’s novel “Imagine Me Gone,” which was nominated for a National Book Award last year, and Hanna Tinti’s “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley,” which she worked on during an August 2014 residency and which was released this spring (Tinti is returning to Aspen later this month to teach at Aspen Summer Words).
Most recently, the program brought Coloradan young adult novelist Lija Fisher to the Catto Shaw family’s Mojo Garden Farm in Woody Creek for the month of May. Fischer’s “Clivo Wren and the Fall of the Phoenix” is due out next year.
Aspen Words recently announced its selected writers in residence for the next five months:
JULY: Grant Faulkner
Faulkner, a short-story writer and essayist, is the executive director of National Novel Writing Month and author of the 2015 short-short story collection “Fissures.” His book of essays on creativity, “Pep Talks for Writers,” is due out this fall.
Faulkner will give a reading and discuss his work July 18 at Hooch
AUGUST: Chigozie Obioma
Obioma’s 2015 debut novel, “The Fisherman,” was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book award and has been translated into 26 languages.
The Nigeria-born, Nebraska-based writer will give a talk and reading at Hooch on Aug. 22.
SEPTEMBER: Tatjana Soli
Soli is the author of three novels, including “The Last Good Paradise” (2015), “The Forgetting Tree” (2012) and her bestselling 2010 debut, “The Lotus Eaters,” which won the James Tait Black Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Soli will give a talk and reading at Hooch on Sept. 19.
OCTOBER: Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Contreras, a Colombian essayist and fiction writer, is due to publish her debut novel, “The Fruit of the Drunken Tree,” in 2018.
She will read and discuss her work on Oct. 24 at Hooch.
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.