Nominate your favorite Inlandia author and (possibly!) win a copy of the anthology that inspired it all.
Among the many hats that I wear, I am also the Chair of the Literary Laureate Selection Committee for the Inlandia Insitute. The Literary Laureate Program is one of their core programs, fostering creative literacy and supporting the region's authors.
Two years ago a panel of jurors selected Susan Straight as Inlandia's very first Literary Laureate. This felt inevitable and oh-so-right to me. All of her books have an emphasis on 'place', and more often than not that place is the Inland Empire, most notably the Riverside lookalike, Rio Seco. During her term she has worked with elementary students who formed a book club to read her novel for children, The Friskative Dog, and written "Notes of a Native Daughter", a series of essays on place, for KCET, which feature the photography of fellow Inlandian and V.P. of Inlandia's Board of Directors, Douglas McCulloh, among other projects. (For anyone who'd like to read something that speaks to the heart of who the people of Inlandia are, this series is a good place to start.)
Where we live, no matter the duration, influences who we become. Susan cites Faulkner, who "always worked what he called '[his] own little postage stamp of native soil', and Didion, who said, “You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from”, when summing up her own thoughts on place: "there are two kinds of people – those who leave and those who stay."
Susan Straight is clearly one of those who stay.
As her two year term as Inlandia's inaugural Literary Laureate comes to a close, we are inviting your nominations to help us select candidates to be the next Inlandia Literary Laureate. We are looking for someone whose work is intrinsic to the region; someone who loves this messy, wonderful place as much as she does, as much as we do.
Susan Straight has graciously agreed to serve on the panel that will select Inlandia's next Literary Laureate, along with Steve Heller, Director of Antioch University Los Angeles's MFA program, and Cheryl Klein, Director of Poets & Writers Magazine's California Office & Readings/Workshops program. Please help us help them by nominating your favorite regional author.
Here is how it works:
We are looking for someone who is affiliated with the region (either lives and/or works here); who has an accessible body of critically acclaimed work that has been published in last ten years; and who has a willingness to work with the community to inspire, mentor, and promote creative literacy.
To nominate, please put the following in one single Word document not to exceed five pages; you may cut and paste information from the web as necessary:
- Your full name and contact information as well as the full name and contact information of your nominee.
- An explanation on why you think this nominee for Inlandia Literary Laureate meets the criteria for appointment and why you are putting forth this nomination, not to exceed one page.
- A biography of the author, not to exceed one page.
- A listing of the author's publications over the last ten years, not to exceed one page.
- A writing sample illustrating why you think the nominee meets your definition of a regional voice vested in the people and places of this unique region, not to exceed two pages.
If you know someone who fits this profile, or if you yourself feel you are qualified and willing to take on the responsibilities, please follow this link to upload your completed nomination.
As further incentive, anyone who comments on this post to tell me they completed a nomination will be eligible to win a free copy of Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire, the anthology that inspired the formation of the Inlandia Institute itself, and for which we just celebrated the five-year anniversary.
For more information visit Inlandia: A Literary Journey.
The window for nominations will close January 31, 2012.
An announcement and ceremony will take place during April at
The 25th Annual Tomas Rivera Conference at UCR.