Monthly Archives: April 2009

Chang to Read From New Work During May 6 Out Loud! Event

Lan Samantha Chang will read from new work when she appears at Theatre Cedar Rapids-Lindale as part of Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series. The event, which is free, is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6.

Chang is the director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as an alumna of the acclaimed writing program. The author of the novel Inheritance and the fiction collection Hunger: A Novella and Stories, Chang will also take audience questions and sign books.

“We’re very excited about this event,” said Rob Cline, series coordinator for Out Loud! “This is a wonderful opportunity for folks to experience beautiful writing and to hear about the world’s most famous writing program from a woman who knows it from the perspective of both student and instructor.”

The Chicago Tribune described Hunger as being made up of “spare and haunting tales that ask ordinary questions about that extraordinary emotion: love.”

Inheritance, which spans seven decades in China and America and explores the lives of two sisters, was praised by Joanne Wilkinson in Booklist: “Chang fulfills the promise of her haunting short-story collection, Hunger, with an elegant first novel that seems impossibly wise about the strictures of love and culture.”

While a student at The University of Iowa, Chang was the winner of the James-Michener-Copernicus Award. She has also been honored as the California Book Award Silver Medalist, as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, and with a Bay Area Book Award as well as with literary awards from the Greensboro Review and the Transatlantic Review. Her work has been nominated for the PEN Center USA West Award and the PEN/Hemingway Literature Prize and has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, and The Best American Short Stories.

Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series is supported by the Giacoletto Foundation with media support from The Gazette and event book sales provided by the Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble. More information about the series is available at

Sara Paretsky, Upcoming Out Loud! Author Series Appearance

V.I. Warshawski creator’s visit second event of 2009 Metro Library Network series

Bestselling author Sara Paretsky, creator of the popular V.I. Warshawski series of detective novels, will give a talk, take audience questions, and sign books on Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at Theatre Cedar Rapids-Lindale. The event, which a part of Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series, is free and no tickets are required.

Paretsky, who was born in Ames, is often credited with revolutionizing the role of women in detective fiction with the introduction of Warshawski in 1982’s Indemnity Only. Her most recent novel, Bleeding Kansas, is set in the Kaw River Valley where she spent much of her childhood. The forthcoming Warshawski novel is entitled Hardball.

“Sara Paretsky is a perfect fit for our series,” said Rob Cline, series coordinator for the Out Loud! Author Series. “Not only is a great and popular mystery writer, she’s also a passionate advocate for libraries.”

By creating a strong female investigator who uses her wits as well as her fists, Paretsky challenged the conventions of a genre in which women traditionally were either vamps or victims. Eleven other Warshawski novels followed, all national bestsellers, including her most recent, Fire Sale. The Los Angeles Times says, “Paretsky is unique among the women writing about women,” while Publishers Weekly claims, “Among today’s P.I.’s nobody comes close to Warshawski.” In addition to her Warshawski novels, Paretsky’s has written Ghost Country, which blends comedy, magic, and a gritty realism in Chicago’s mean streets. She has also edited three collections of short stories and her books are published in twenty-four languages.

Paretsky’s deep-rooted concern for social justice, the hallmark of her novels, has carried her voice beyond the world of crime fiction. In Writing in an Age of Silence, she explores the traditions of political and literary dissent that have informed her life and work. As a frequent contributor to The New York Times‘ op-ed page, and a speaker at the Library of Congress, Oxford University and the University of Chicago, she is an impassioned advocate for those on society’s margins.

Not only has Paretsky broken barriers with her work, she has also helped open doors for other women writers in the field. Her role in founding Sisters in Crime, an organization that supports women mystery writers, caused Ms. Magazine to name her Woman of the Year in 1988. In 2002, the British Crime Writers Association awarded her the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. Paretsky has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Northwestern University. Her work is celebrated in the documentary, Women of Mystery and she has been the recipient of three honorary doctorates. To give back to the community, Paretsky has established scholarships at the University of Kansas, including a special prize for students doing creative work in the arts or sciences. In 2001, she established the Sara and Two C-Dogs Foundation, which primarily supports girls and women in the arts, letters and sciences. She has also mentored students in Chicago’s inner city schools.

Growing up in eastern Kansas, she and her four brothers attended a two-room country school where Paretsky began her lifelong love of baseball and underdogs, playing third base for a school team that always finished at the bottom of its rural league. Her first published writing, which appeared in The American Girl magazine when she was eleven, told a tale of surviving a tornado with her schoolmates. While at the University of Kansas, Paretsky went to Chicago to do community service under the direction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She received both a doctorate in history and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Paretsky’s web site can be found at

Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Author Series is supported by the Giacoletto Foundation with media support from The Gazette and event book sales provided by the Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble. More information is available at