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Friday, October 12 • 4:30pm - 5:45pm
Can’t Go Home Again: Writing About Our Distance from Our Origin

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How do you write about a damaged past? James Han Mattson’s novel The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves follows a family grappling with their son killing a classmate and then himself. T. Geronimo Johnson says the intertwined narratives “form a blistering tapestry of love, loss, and tragedy, reminding us that sexual identity remains a ferocious struggle for many small-town youths [as well as] illustrate grief and longing in the age of digital communication.” Nick Kowalczyk’s journalism has taken him around the country, including to Iowa, where an axe murderer and eight victims revived the flagging small town, and to the re-enacted fields of the French and Indian War. In John Lingan’s Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk, a journey to discover the roots of Patsy Cline in Winchester, Virginia turns into an exploration of a Shenandoah town’s vanishing way of life as it collides with the twenty-first century. 

avatar for Nick Kowalczyk

Nick Kowalczyk

Nick Kowalczyk has published essays in Ninth Letter, American Literary Review, Salon, and Phoebe, among other places. A graduate of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, he is an associate professor of writing at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, where he lives with his family.
avatar for John Lingan

John Lingan

John Lingan is the author of Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk, published in summer 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Oxford American, Pacific Standard, and many other... Read More →
avatar for James Han Mattson

James Han Mattson

James Han Mattson was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in North Dakota. A Michener-Copernicus Fellowship recipient and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Cape Town, the University of Maryland, the George Washington University... Read More →