Giving Voice:  A Festival of Writing and the Arts

September 22-23, 2016


Marilyn Nelson, Poet 


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        Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of over twenty-four books. Her latest collection of poems is Faster Than Light (2012), winner of the 2013 Milton Kessler Poetry Award. The Homeplace (1990) was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997) won the 1998 Poets' Prize and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize. The Cachoiera Tales and Other Poems (2005) won the L.E. Phillabaum Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, an A.C.L.S. Contemplative Practices Fellowship, the Department of the Army's Commander's Award for Public Service, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.  Nelson is a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut, was founder/director and host of Soul Mountain Retreat, and held the office of Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001 to 2006.  Marilyn was awarded the 2012 Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America's most prestigious award, for "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry." In January 2013 she was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.



Gina Ochsner, Fiction Writer


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       Gina Ochsner teaches at Corban University where she also directs the Portals Young Adult Writing Conference.  Ochsner also teaches with the Seattle Pacific Low-Residency MFA program.  Ochsner has been awarded a John L. Simon Guggenheim grant and a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. She is the author of two short-story collections, The Necessary Grace to Fall, which was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and People I Wanted to Be. She is the author of two novels, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, and The Hidden Letters of Velta B.



Chris Hoke – Nonfiction Writer




       Chris is the author of Wanted (2015) published by HarperCollins, a memoir of his experiences as chaplain in the Skagit County Jail. He received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University.  He is also the co-founder of Underground Writing, a creative writing workshop inside juvenile detention.




soo 2


       BettySoo is a folk musician from Austin, who has performed and taught at various academies all over North America. She is the winner of Mountain Stage NewSong Competition and Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year, as well as several other regional awards.  With seven albums of self-written songs, she is a perfect choice to both perform and teach at Giving Voice.


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