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Five authors coming for Aspen Words residencies

Free author talks open May 24 with Jenn Shapland

Staff report
The 2022 Aspen Words writers in residence, clockwise from top left: Jenn Shapland; Tochukwu Okafor; Jamaica Baldwin; Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi; and Leath Tonino.

The National Book Award finalist and Lambda Literary Award winner Jenn Shapland (“My Autobiography of Carson McCullers”) is among five authors coming to Woody Creek this year for an Aspen Words residency.

The Writers in Residence program, hosted in partnership with the Catto Shaw Foundation, will host five writers over six months at the Catto Shaw property outside Aspen.

The resident authors will read and discuss their work at free community events to be held from May through October at the Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW), The Red Brick Center for the Arts and at Pitkin County Library.



Along with Shapland, who is here for May, this year’s residents include Jamaica Baldwin, author of the forthcoming “Bone Language”; Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of three novels and a PEN/Faulkner Award winner as well as a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35”; Tochukwu Okafor, whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including the 2019 Best Small Fictions, the 2018 Best of the Net and more; and Leath Tonino, whose prose and poetry have been published in High Country News and Outside magazine, among other publications.

“One of the joys of this residency is welcoming a variety of writers to our breathtaking valley who would otherwise never venture here,” said Isa Catto Shaw, who has hosted and sponsored the Woody Creek residency with her husband Daniel Shaw since 2013. “I have learned so much from this residency and now understand that there are many ways to give besides writing a check. These residents expand our perspectives and introduce our valley to new voices and stories.”




Free copies of each author’s published books will be distributed in advance of their talks through the Little Free Library outside the Red Brick Center for the Arts. The first public event, on May 24, will feature Shapland, whose residency plans include finishing her second book, the essay collection “Thin Skin,” at TACAW.

The remainder of the events are Jamaica Baldwin on the Red Brick lawn (July 21), Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Aug. 17), Tochukwu Okafor at the Pitkin County Library (Sept. 22) and Leath Tonino at TACAW (Oct. 18). More info at aspenwords.org.


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