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Period Beginning: Saturday, April 19
Ann Pancake -- The Georgia Review Earth Day Reading|
Ann Pancake -- fiction writer, essayist, and environmental activist -- will read from her work at The Georgia Review's sixth annual Earth Day program, to be hosted by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:00 pm in the Day Chapel. Local music duo Hawk Proof Rooster will open the evening with a brief concert and will also play during the reception that will follow Pancake's presentation.
Special additional support for this years event is provided by the University of Georgia's Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts and by UGA's Environmental Ethics Certificate Program.
Ann Pancake currently lives in Seattle, but the West Virginia native's writing, political efforts, and heart remain firmly focused in her home state, where the coal mining industry in particular the highly controversial process of mountaintop removal has both supported and devastated the populace in many areas.
The Georgia Reviews commitment both to enduring writing and to heightening awareness about environmental problems has brought Pancake to its pages with two short stories and an essay. Her story Arsonists (Summer 2009) explores the mysterious circumstances under which the homes of anti-coal-policy residents begin going up in flames. The second story, Mouseskull (Winter 2011), is told by a young West Virginia girl reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout who unravels the tangled forces behind her grandfathers suicide. Arsonists was selected for reprinting in New Stories from the South 2010; Mouseskull received a Special Mention listing in The Pushcart Prize XXXVII (2013).
Pancake's recent Georgia Review essay, Creative Responses to Worlds Unraveling: The Artist in the 21st Century (Fall 2013), worries the hows and whys of what a writer might do in the face of the huge complexities of environmental degradation: "I believe literature's most pressing political task of all in these times is envisioning alternative future realities . . . a way forward which is not based in idealism or fantasy, which does not offer dystopia or utopia, but still turns current paradigms on their heads. I now feel charged to make stories that invent more than represent, that dream more than reflect. This is not to say that I have more than glimmers of what such fiction will be, but I carry a burning urgency that it must be done."
Ann Pancake's first book was Given Ground (2000), a collection of short stories published as the winner of the Bakeless Prize. Her novel Strange As This Weather Has Been (2007) won the Weatherford Award, was a finalist for the Orion Book Award, and was named one of the top ten fiction books of that year by Kirkus Reviews. Wendell Berry termed this work "one of the bravest novels I've ever read."
Her individual stories and essays have appeared in such diverse publications as Massachusetts Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Chattahoochee Review, Orion, Narrative, and Poets & Writers.
Hawk Proof Rooster, a.k.a. Charlie and Nancy Hartness, have provided after-program music for The Georgia Reviews Earth Day events several times. The Review is proud to make them a part of the main program this year, and attendees are advised to arrive early to get the best seating.
Past speakers for this series have included National Book Award winner Barry Lopez, Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Tretheway, Coleman Barks, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Alice Friman, and Scott Russell Sanders.
Period Ending: Thursday, May 1