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Dances with Words author series announces 2017 readings

December 27, 2016

The University of Montana Western Dances with Words visiting author series announces its first readings of 2017.


The University of Montana Western Dances with Words visiting author series announces its first readings of 2017.

The 2017 series begins on Wednesday, Jan.18, 2017 with acclaimed Montana author Rick Bass.

Referred to as a “national treasure” by author Carl Hiassen, Bass has won numerous awards, including multiple Pushcart Prizes and O. Henry Awards, and his stories, articles and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly among many other widely read publications.

A resident of Montana since 1987, Bass and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, originally moved to the remote Yaak Valley of Northwest Montana. They have since relocated to Missoula, Mont.

A collection of short fiction, Bass’ “The Hermit’s Story,” was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and another collection, “The Lives of Rocks,” was a finalist for the prestigious Story Prize, as well as a Best Book of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News. His most recent nonfiction book, “Why I Came West,” was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Montana poet Lowell Jaeger will read from his works on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Jaeger has an extensive collection of published books of poetry and journal publications.

He is the founding editor of Many Voices Press, which began when he found himself inheriting poems of three former students who’d passed away without having their poetry heard. 

Jaeger has been awarded the NEA Fellowship, Grolier Poetry Peace Prize, Montana Arts Council Fellowship and Montana Governor’s Humanities Award. 

An M.F.A. graduate of the renowned University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Jaeger taught at the University of Iowa for several years before coming to Montana to teach at Flathead Valley Community College. He is currently a professor of English and creative writing and serves as the humanities division chair. 

Montana native Shann Ray will close out the series with a reading on Thursday, April 27, 2017. His debut Novel, “American Copper” won the Foreword Book of the Year Readers’ Choice Award and the Western Writers of America Spur Award. The novel was also a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Literary Fiction.

Ray’s work has been featured in some of America’s leading literary venues including Poetry, Esquire, McSweeney’s, Narrative, LitHub, Story Quarterly, Poetry International, High Desert Journal, Tin House online, Fugue, Northwest Review and Montana Quarterly. 

He is the winner of numerous poetry and writing awards, including the Creative Writing Distinguished Alumni Award from Eastern Washington University. 

Ray teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

All readings are at 7:30 p.m. at The Cup, located in Montana Western’s Swysgood Technology Center.

The Dances with Words series is free and open to the public.