INLANDIA LITERARY LAUREATE 2012-2014 - GAYLE BRANDEIS
The Inlandia Institute Board of Directors has named Gayle Brandeis the Inlandia Literary Laureate for 2012 - 2014. The recognition was officially announced at the annual Tomas Rivera Conference and 40th Anniversary Celebration of Chicano Student Programs at UCR, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, at University of California, Riverside, Highlander Union Building, Room 302. The celebration included an homage to Tomas Rivera the Laureate award presentation, and "Siete Noches/Seven Nights: An Evening with Author Sandra Cisneros", including a reading, panel discussion, book signing, and light reception.
According to Cati Porter, chair of the Inlandia Literary Laureate committee, Gayle Brandeis was selected as the second Inlandia Literary Laureate by an esteemed panel of judges including Dr. Steve Heller, MFA in Creative Writing Program Chair at Antioch University; Cheryl Klein, Director, Poets & Writers' West Coast Office; and Susan Straight, the first Inlandia Literary Laureate. In selecting Ms. Brandeis as the laureate, the panel noted her national reputation, writing excellence in several genres and rapport with audiences of all ages.
Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change, Self Storage (Ballantine), and Delta Girls (Ballantine), as well as her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt), which just received the Silver Nautilus Book Award for Middle Grade/Teen Fiction. In addition, Gayle recently released The Book of Live Wires, the sequel to The Book of Dead Birds, as an eBook.
Her poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies (such as Salon.com, The Nation, and The Mississippi Review) and have received several awards, including the QPB/Story Magazine Short Story Award, a Barbara Mandigo Kelley Peace Poetry Award, and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her essay on the meaning of liberty was one of three included in the Statue of Liberty's Centennial time capsule in 1986, when she was 18. In 2004, The Writer Magazine honored Gayle with a Writer Who Makes a Difference Award.
She holds a BA in "Poetry and Movement: Arts of Expression, Meditation and Healing" from the University of Redlands, and an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Antioch University. She currently teaches at Antioch and has taught at universities, libraries, community centers and writing conferences around the country; she is also on the national staff of the women's peace organization CODEPINK and is a founding member of the Women Creating Peace Collective. Gayle lives in Riverside, CA and has a son in college, a daughter in high school, and a two-year old boy.
According to Larry Burns, President of the Inlandia Institute, "the Inlandia Literary Laureate award will deepen people's awareness, understanding, and appreciation of this unique and complex region."
The laureate award and the exciting creative literary projects and programs undertaken during each laureate's term engage the community and bring focus to the richness of the literary enterprise that exists in the region. "Inlandia's new Literary Laureate says she is particularly interested in reaching those who seldom engage in creative activities, and those who feel they have no story to tell. Everyone has a story to tell. Our personal stories have value. It is a matter of finding a way of expressing them. I love opening the creative writing process up to others." During her two-year term, Brandeis plans to focus on the theme of INnerLANDIA , exploring self and place, in the first year, and OutLANDIA, releasing the imagination, in the second year. Gayle will make two author presentations, lead an intensive daylong, writing workshop for adults and one for teens, and hold a creative literacy assembly in a school, among other activities. Visit both the Inlandia Institute's 'website at InlandiaInstitute.org and their Facebook page for current Inlandia Literary Event listings.