Arts and culture

Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. He is the recipient of a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Award, and received a "5 under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation. His first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was named a New York Times Notable Book and awarded the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, among numerous other honors. His latest novel is called All Of Our Names.


Film on Carbondale's James Surls Opens ShortsFest

Apr 6, 2015

This year’s annual Aspen Film’s Shorts Fest features several documentaries on Colorado artists. One called “The Journey” follows sculptor James Surls. Austin Lottimer is co-director of the film. He spoke recently to Aspen Public Radio’s Rob St. Mary.

Edward Carey

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry (stories), the novels The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, the memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and the forthcoming Thunderstruck & Other Stories.  She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

She has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University, the University of Oregon, the University of Houston, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  She holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and boy are her arms tired.

Ilana Panich-Lisman

Jennifer duBois is the recipient of a 2013 Whiting Writer’s Award and a 2012 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 award. Her debut novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was the winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. Her second novel, Cartwheel, has been nominated for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. Jennifer earned a B.A. in political science and philosophy from Tufts University and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop before completing a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Missouri Review, Salon, The Kenyon Review, Cosmopolitan, Narrative, and ZYZZYVA. A native of western Massachusetts, Jennifer currently teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.

Drew Holcomb

Mar 22, 2015

From the artist's facebook page:

Some artists are able to articulate a vision at the very beginning of their career, while others hone their craft over time, growing into their vision as they mature.

Debbi Cooper

Molly Antopol’s debut story collection, The UnAmericans (W.W. Norton), was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award, named a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the National Jewish Book Award and the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. It was chosen as a “Best Book of 2014” by over a dozen venues and will be published in seven countries. She teaches at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow, and lives in San Francisco.

Matthew Thomas was born and raised in New York City. He has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and longlisted for both the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize.

Caitlin Saunders

George Saunders is the author of four collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year, and Tenth of December. Pastoralia, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and Tenth of December were all New York Times Notable Books. Tenth of December was nominated for the 2013 National Book Award in Fiction. The Boston Globe lauds Saunders’ ability to “construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity." In 2014, Saunders' graduation speech at Syracuse University will be published as the book Congratulations, by the Way.

Shannon Taggart

CJ 's fiction has appeared in Tin House, TriQuarterly, Third Coast, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Review, The Laurel Review, SLICE, The Kenyon Review, and Esquire. She is the 2010 recipient of McSweeney's Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, the winner of the 2012 Jaimy Gordon Prize in Fiction and the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize for Sudden Fiction. She was also a finalist in Esquire's Short Short Fiction Competition and shortlisted for the UK's Bridport Prize.

This week on CrossCurrents, Laura Thielen of Aspen Film and APR's Rob St. Mary with their picks on who will win at this year's Academy Awards.

Aspen Film continues with its “Hollywood’s Big Night” event this Sunday as a fundraiser for the non-profit’s programs in the Valley. You can find out more here: