If you live in the Pittsburgh area and weren't already following City of Asylum, here's even more reason to keep track of their events. They recently announced on Facebook that four National Book Award finalists have performed at their venue. Let this be a reminder to what fertile ground the Pittsburgh area is for talent and, of course, a reminder of all the great work City of Asylum is doing for writers both in the community and around the world. Actually, it's not just a reminder of the great talents from the area but also that Pittsburgh is a place that people travel to read at. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to COA for providing them with such a beautiful venue in our area. Below is their respective information. (All this information is taken from the sites attributed, so please do not mistake any of it for my penmanship. It isn't.)
“Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government.
Ilya is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press). He has also co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books). His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation's Fellowship and the NEA Fellowship. His poems regularly appear in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He has also been awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize. Dancing In Odessa was named the Best Book of the Year by Foreword magazine. Recently, he was on the short-list for Neustadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated over twenty languages, and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize.
Kaminsky has worked as a law clerk for San Francisco Legal Aid and the National Immigration Law Center. More recently, he worked pro-bono as the Court Appointed Special Advocate for Orphaned Children in Southern California. Currently, he holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology and lives in Atlanta.”
-from his website
Follow Ilya Kaminsky at:
"Toi Derricotte is an American poet and a professor of writing at University of Pittsburgh. She won a 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem Foundation, a summer workshop for African-American poets."
-from her Facebook
Follow Toi Derricotte at:
Her Website: https://toiderricotte.com/
"Akwaeke Emezi is a writer and video artist based in liminal spaces and a 2018 National Book Foundation '5 Under 35' honoree. Currently longlisted for a National Book Award, their debut YA novel PET (Make Me a World/Random House Children's Books) is also an Indie Next selection and debuted with five starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Bookpage, and Bulletin. Emezi was recently featured in Kirkus Reviews and profiled in The New York Times.
Emezi's debut autobiographical novel FRESHWATER (Grove Atlantic) is in early development as a TV series at FX, with Emezi writing and executive producing with Tamara P. Carter. Translated into ten languages, FRESHWATER was a New York Times Notable Book as well as a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and a Lambda Literary Award. It was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence, the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, The Wellcome Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and named a Best Book of the Year by the New Yorker, NPR, the Chicago Public Library, and Buzzfeed. FRESHWATER debuted as an Indies Introduce Title, receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and the LA Times, among others. Their sophomore adult novel, THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books, and their short story 'Who Is Like God' won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Emezi was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and profiled in the February 2018 issue of Vogue Magazine (Modern Families With A Cause), and their video art series THE UNBLINDING premiered at Gavin Brown's enterprise in Harlem.
Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, Emezi was awarded a Global Arts Fund grant in 2017 for the video art in their project The Unblinding, and a Sozopol Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. Their writing has been published by T Magazine, Dazed Magazine, The Cut, Buzzfeed, Granta Online, Vogue.com, and Commonwealth Writers, among others. Their memoir work was included in The Fader's 'Best Culture Writing of 2015' ('Who Will Claim You?') and their experimental short UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival.
Emezi is currently making video art and working on their fifth novel. For their upcoming events, click here."
-from their website
Follow Akwaeke Emezi at:
Their Website: https://www.akwaeke.com/
Their public Facebook does not appear to be currently available and didn't want to share a dead link. I can update if anyone notices any changes on that front.
"Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Writer's Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection is The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019). His poems have appeared in The Bennington Review, Buzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University."
-from his website
His Website: https://www.jerichobrown.com/
City of Asylum
"City of Asylum creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors. We provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. We offer a broad range of literary programs in a variety of community settings to encourage cross-cultural exchange. We anchor neighborhood economic development by transforming blighted properties into homes for these programs and energizing public spaces through public art with text-based components."
-from their website
Follow them at:
Their Website: https://cityofasylum.org/