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EIU’s Lions in Winter this January 30-31

The annual Lions in Winter literary event is just around the corner at EIU. For more, see the EIU English Department press release below:

A diverse group of emerging writers and editors will share their knowledge of the literary world at Lions in Winter 2015, Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Now in its third year, the two-day festival includes a faculty colloquium, evening readings and craft talks with award-winning writers, a panel discussion with literary magazine editors, children’s story hour and a book fair.

“The Lions in Winter committee hopes this year’s festival will appeal to a wide range of writers and readers – from high school and college students to community members of all ages,” said Lania Knight, Lions in Winter co-organizer.

Horror and experimental fiction writer Stephen Graham Jones will be in the spotlight for the evening events on Friday, Jan. 30. The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. with a faculty colloquium on Jones in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall. Melissa Ames, Robin Murray, and Ruben Quesada professors in the EIU Department of English, along with writer and editor Brian Kornell of Champaign, will discuss Jones’s work, which includes 15 novels, six story collections, and more than 200 stories. His latest story collection, “After the People Lights Have Gone Off,” was published in the fall of 2014.

Jones has been a Shirley Jackson Award finalist three times, a Bram Stoker Award finalist, a Black Quill Award finalist, an International Horror Guild finalist, a Colorado Book Award Finalist, a Texas Monthly Book Selection, and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction and the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction. He has also been a Texas Writers League Fellow and an NEA fellow in fiction. He is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Jones will take to the stage in the Doudna Lecture Hall to give the keynote reading at 7 p.m. The colloquium and reading are free and open to the public.

The morning and afternoon events on Saturday, Jan. 31 will allow those yearning to further their knowledge of writing and publishing the opportunity for a more intimate experience with the festival’s writers and editors.

Jones, David Tomas Martinez, fiction writer Edward Kelsey Moore, non-fiction writer Julija Šukys and children’s author Jessica Young will give for craft talks on their respective genres from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center classrooms. Each writer will present a 50-minute talk on how to improve one’s craft.

“We want Lions in Winter to appeal to as many people as we can,” said Charlotte Pence, Lions in Winter co-organizer. “We have different genres so we can really meet everyone’s interest.”

Martinez’s debut collection of poetry, “Hustle,” released in 2014, won honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize. His poetry has also been published in numerous literary magazines. He is the Reviews and Interviews editor for Gulf Coast and is a Breadloaf and CantoMundo Fellow. Martinez received his MFA from San Diego State University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Houston’s creative writing program.

Moore is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Supreme’s at Earls All-You-Can Eat,” published in 2013. “The Supremes” was awarded the 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library
Association and was chosen as a 2013 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also named a 2014 Illinois Reads book by the Illinois Reading Council.

Šukys is the author of two books of nonfiction, “Silence is Death: The Life and Work of Tahar Djaout,” published in 2007, and “Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė,” 2012. “Epistolophilia” was shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction, long-listed for the Charles Taylor Award in Literary Nonfiction and won the 2013 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Literature. She is currently working on a personal story that starts in Lithuania, continues in Siberia, and ends in Canada. Šukys is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Young’s award-winning debut picture book, “My Blue is Happy, published in 2013, was included on the 2014 Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults, the Texas Library Association’s 2014 2×2 Reading List, the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets 2013, the Library of Congress/Center for the Book’s 52 Great Reads list and many other lists. A second picture book and two chapter book series are forthcoming in 2015 and 2016.

Young will also host a children’s story hour at 10 a.m. in the Ballenger Teachers Center at Booth Library. All children ages 3 to 7 accompanied by an adult are welcome to attend the free story hour.

A panel of literary magazine editors will offer their perspective on how to improves one’s work at 2 p.m. in the Doudna Concourse. Two EIU English professors will be on the panel to represent their respective publications: Lania Knight for Bluestem and Ruben Quesada for Luna Luna and The Cossack Review. Caleb Curtiss will represent Hobart and Jim Warner will represent Quiddity.

The book fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Doudna Concourse. Books by the featured writers, editors and EIU faculty will be available for perusal and purchase.

Lions in Winter will conclude with a reading by Martinez, Moore and Šukys at 7 p.m. in the Doudna Lecture Hall. The reading is free and open to the public.

Registration is required to attend the craft talks and editors’ panel on Jan. 31, and can be completed at The cost is $40 for general admission and includes continental breakfast, lunch, craft talks and the editors’ panel. All high school and college students and EIU faculty may register and attend these events for free, or pay $10 to add the lunch. Coles County Arts Council members can receive a discounted rate by calling the Doudna Box Office at 217-581-3110.

All other festival events are free to attend.

Lions in Winter 2015 is sponsored by the Doudna Fine Arts Center New and Emerging Artists Series, The College of Arts and Humanities, EIU Department of English, The Mary Coon Cottingham Visiting Writers Series and the Coles County Arts Council.

Visit the Lions in Winter website at to register or for more information about the literary festival. Questions can be directed to [email protected] or the EIU Department of English at 217-581-2428.

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