Sep 20, 2018, 7:00 pm


Salt Lake City

Wasatch Front Region


Art Barn / Finch Lane Gallery
201 Presidents Cir
Salt Lake City , UT 84112-9049
Map [+]


The Guest Writers Series at the University of Utah presents Vi Khi Nao and Joanna Ruocco on Thursday, September 20th at the Finch Lane Gallery.

In Fish in Exile, Nao asks difficult questions: How do you grieve the death of a child? With fishtanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.

Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khanh, Vietnam. She is the author of Umbilical Hospital; the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016; the novel, Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016); and the poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014.

Ruoco's Dan tells the story of Melba Zuzzo. In Dan, a town located in the foothills of ... somewhere? . . . she finds herself in a rut. In fact she was probably born into this rut, but today, for some reason, she feels suddenly aware of it. Everything is changing, yet nothing is making sense. The people she might rely upon, the habits she should find comforting—everything is off. It's as if life, which has gone by largely unnoticed up to now, has been silently conspiring against her the whole time. In Dan, Ruocco has created a slapstick parable that brings together the restless undercurrents and unabashed campiness of Thomas Pynchon with the meandering imaginative audacity of Raymond Roussel. Either Dan is a state of mind, beyond the reach of any physical map, or else it sits on every map unnoticed, tucked beneath the big red dot that tells us YOU ARE HERE.

Joanna Ruocco is an assistant professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at Wake Forest University. She has published several books, including Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych, which won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize and Dan (Dorothy, a publishing project).

This event was made possible with support from Guest Writers Series, the University of Utah Department of English and Creative Writing Program, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and Utah Humanities.