When: Thursday, February 29th 2024 from 12:00-1:00pm
Where: Piper Writers House (PWH) 450 E. Tyler Mall, ASU Tempe Campus OR Online
What: The ASU Book Group’s February 2024 reading selection is To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories by Sarah Viren. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. with two different options for attendance: either in-person at the Piper Writers House or virtually on Zoom (registration required for online attendance). In-person attendees are invited to join the author for lunch after at the University Club, no-host.
Haven’t read the book? Come anyway! Authors are always present.
Synopsis of the Book: Past and present collide in this propulsive, one-of-a-kind meditation on truth and conspiracy, based on Viren’s viral essay of the same name. “This all started after the  election,” Viren begins, “when the main narrative I kept hearing was that only uneducated whites believed the lies that were being told.” At first, she set out to write a book about her charismatic high school philosophy teacher, whose instruction sometimes bordered on conspiracy theory, interviewing teachers and classmates from her past to pick at the ways reasonable people can be manipulated to believe far-flung fictions. Then Viren’s wife received an email accusing her of sexual misconduct at the university where both worked, and Viren tapped into her background as an investigative journalist to untangle the accusations and clear her wife’s name.
Sarah Viren is an assistant professor in the Department of English’s creative writing program.
About the book group:
Remaining ASU Book Group meetings and selections for 2023–24 are:
The Department of English at Arizona State University is putting on a series of informative and educational events this October. Take a look at some of the happenings on campus:
Shakespeare at 400—’Making Shakespeare: The First Folio’ | November 8th
Arizona State University presents a screening of excerpts from the brand new PBS “Great Performances” documentary: “Making Shakespeare: The First Folio.” Shakespeare scholars Ayanna Thompson, Eric Rasmussen and Sir Jonathan Bate– all of whom appear as experts in the film – provide insights and information. ASU Scholar Ruben Espinosa moderates and provides additional insight.
Shakespeare at 400: From Fiction to Fact is an ASU celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first published collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. The celebration is led by staff and scholars in the Department of English and is informed by the university’s enormous strength in Early Modern studies. The fall 2023 celebration includes several events: a performance, a documentary screening, and a curated book display at ASU library.
The event is in-person is free and open to the public and will also be livestreamed. The in-person event will be held at the Downtown Phoenix campus at 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85004. Parking is available for a $12 fee for three hours at the University Center Garage.
Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing: Distinguished Visiting Writers Series (DNRS)| November 9th
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing holds a series of free events open to the public to ensure all individuals have the ability to participate in the literary arts. Visiting authors host small workshops in partnership with the Piper Writers Studio, engage in intimate craft talks with students, visit ASU classes, and participate in other meaningful activities.
This month, the Piper Center welcomes Douglas Kearney and Octavio Quintanilla. The in-person event is a festival of words and pictures discussing prominent questions such as: How can poetic forms be reimagined and remade? What kind of poetry speaks most to us here and now?
About the authors:
Douglas Kearney is the author of eight books, including the poetry collections Optic Subwoof (Wave Books, 2022); Sho (Wave Books, 2021), a 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award, National Book Award, and Minnesota Book Award finalist; and Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), a Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner, a Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Firecracker awardee, and California Book Award silver medalist. Kearney is also the author of Someone Took They Tongues (Subito Press, 2016), and Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), which Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” He teaches at the University of Minnesota.
Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014). His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography have appeared in Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pilgrimage, Green Mountains Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature, and elsewhere. Reviews of his work can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
Hear from these talented writers on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 7 p.m. in 101 Armstrong Hall. RSVP to save your spot for this exciting literary event. Learn more.
AZCALL 2023 | November11th
AZCALL is an annual conference that brings together computer-assisted language learning (CALL) enthusiasts from around the state and region to share ideas, network and receive valuable feedback on scholarly research, academic papers and major conference presentations which are in progress or preparation. This year’s AZCALL theme is the effect of Artificial Intelligence in language learning and pedagogy. Featured speakers are Randall W. Sadler from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Jesse Egbert from Northern Arizona University.
ASU Book Group: ‘Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain’ | November16th
The ASU Book Group’s November 2023 reading selection is Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain: Human Evolution and the Seven Fundamental Motives by Douglas Kenrick and David Lundberg-Kenrick. In-person attendees are invited to join the author for lunch after at the University Club. Feel free to join even if you haven’t read the book! The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon-1 p.m. either in-person at the Piper Writers House or virtually on Zoom.
The focus of the book is “how many of the problems we face in our daily lives stem from the fact that our brains evolved to deal with problems our ancestors faced but that are no longer major factors in our lives,” says Kenrick. “Self-driving cars, homes with air conditioning and plush mattresses, and supermarkets stocked with fresh fruit, pre-made meals and some chocolate ice cream for dessert. The hunter-gatherers would probably be shocked to learn that people living amid all of these luxuries are often miserably depressed, anxious and lonely.”
Register if you would like to attend virtually on Zoom.
Stellar Alumni Reading Series | November 15-16, 2023
On November 15th, the event will take place after the MFA Talk. Time and Location TBD.
On November 16, the Stellar Alumni Reading will feature Aimee Baker & Leah Myers at 7:00 p.m. Location TBD.
MFA Student Reading Series | November 17th
Presented by ASU’s Creative Writing Program, the event brings notable alumni authors to the ASU community for readings and discussions about their writing and literary works.
The event will take place at the Ellis-Shackelford House, 1242 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004 from 5:30-7:00 p.m
Location: Piper Writers House (PWH), 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
The ASU Book Group’s April 2019 reading selection is When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-cost luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: “I write hungry sentences,” Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, “because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them.” This debut collection of poetry is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Location: Piper Writer’s House, 450 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281 Cost: Free
The ASU Book Group’s March 2019 reading selection is “Counting Coup” by Kelli Donley. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon to 1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-host luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie — and her failing memory — into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing. Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of. Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.
Kelli Donley is a native Arizonan who works in public health. “Counting Coup” was inspired by Donley’s colleagues’ stories about childhoods spent at the Phoenix Indian School. One of the characters is an ASU professor.
The remaining ASU Book Group meeting and selection for 2018—19 is:
The ASU Book Group is meeting Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016 from 12-1 p.m. at the Piper Writers House (PWH) ASU, Tempe campus. The September 2016 reading selection of the ASU Book Group is “Crossing the Line: A Marriage across Borders” by local writer Linda Valdez. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are generally present.
Not a typical immigration story, “Crossing the Line” is told by a middle-class American woman who falls in love with the son of an impoverished family from rural Mexico—a man who crosses the border illegally to be with her. Married in 1988, Linda and Sixto Valdez learn to love each other’s very different families and cultures, raising their child to walk proudly in both worlds. “Crossing the Line” cuts through the fears and preconceptions that fuel the continuing political turmoil over immigration. The book is available at amazon.com.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003, Linda Valdez is a columnist and editorial writer at the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com. She has written extensively about immigration and border issues. Her commentary opposing Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration laws earned her the Scripps Howard Walker Stone Award for editorial writing in 2011.
Other ASU Book Group meetings and selections for 2016-2017 include Oct. 26 (Matt Bell: “Scrapper”); Nov. 30 (Betty E. Hammer Joy: “Angela Hutchinson Hammer: Arizona’s Pioneer Newspaperwoman”); Jan. 25 (Michael Smith: “At Home with the Aztecs: An Archaeologist Uncovers Their Daily Life”); Feb. 22 (Tara Ison: “Ball”); Mar. 29 (Martin Beck Matuštík: “Out of Silence: Repair across Generations”); andApr. 26 (Melissa Pritchard: “A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write”). Additional selections TBD.
The ASU Book Group is sponsored as a community outreach initiative by the Department of English and organized in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.
Wednesday, February 24th from 12pm-1pm, ASU instructor Lori Eshleman (College of Letters and Sciences) will be giving a book discussion on her novel Pachacuti: World Overturned(Bagwyn Books).This discussion is open to all in the ASU community and will be held in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus.
Lori Eshleman, who has taught at ASU since 1994, has always been drawn to those spaces in time where cultural and religious traditions have encountered each other, from the European Middle Ages to colonial Latin America to the American West. Her new book of historical fiction explores the overlap of complex issues of race, gender, politics and religion through characters whose lives become entwined during an uprising in the Andean kingdom of Quito in the 1700s.