Author Dinaw Mengestu Visits UK
By Gail Hairston
As part of the University of Kentucky Visiting Writers Series, acclaimed author Dinaw Mengestu will read from his works at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in the Creative Arts Studio (Room 153) in Holmes Hall, 111 Avenue of Champions in Lexington. Mengestu, an Ethiopian-American, has written three novels, including “All Our Names,” published in 2014.
“All Our Names” is an epic love story that follows Isaac, a refugee fleeing war-torn Uganda. Isaac finds himself in the American Midwest and begins a passionate affair with the social worker assigned to him. The book was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor and The Boston Globe, among other major publications.
Mengestu’s “The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears,” published in 2007, was a New York Times Notable Book, won The Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the Prix Femina étranger, the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.
His “How to Read the Air,” published in 2010, won the Earnest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
Mengestu’s work has appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He has been selected as a New Yorker 20 authors under 40 years old. In 2007, the National Book Foundation named him a 5 under 35 honoree. He is the director of the Written Arts Program at Bard College.
UK’s Visiting Writers Series, organized by the MFA in Creative Writing program in the Department of English, will also bring to Lexington poet, novelist, performer, and art journalist Eileen Myles at 7 p.m. March 29 and essayist John Jeremiah Sullivan on April 12. All readings in this series are free and open to the public. For more information about the series, visit english.as.uky.edu/visiting-writers-series.
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