Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2000

2000 Simpson-Duvall Lectureship to Feature Authors Robert Wrigley and Kim Barnes

Whitworth College presents critically acclaimed writers Robert Wrigley and Kim Barnes as its 2000 Simpson-Duvall Lecturers.

Before the husband and wife team moved recently to Moscow, Idaho, they lived in a home perched on a cliff 1,000 feet above Idaho's Clearwater River. Next to their home was a small studio on stilts, where Wrigley sharpened words and phrases into highly lauded collections of poetry, and Barnes honed descriptions of her childhood spent in the isolation of north Idaho logging camps, that resulted in a Pulitzer-nominated memoir.

The authors will read from their works Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the HUB Cafe at Whitworth College. After the reading, Wrigley and Barnes will sign their books, which will be available for purchase, and will answer questions from the audience. The reading is free and open to the public.

Although Wrigley and Barnes do not write in the same genre, their works are driven by a Western voice and challenge some of the longtime assumptions and myths about the West.

Wrigley has published five books of poetry: The Sinking of Clay City (1979); Moon in a Mason Jar (1986); What My Father Believed (1991); In the Bank of Beautiful Sins (1995), which received the 1996 San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award and was one of five finalists for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Reign of Snakes (1999), which was awarded the 2000 Kingsley Tufts Award in poetry from Claremont Graduate University.

Wrigley has had nearly 300 poems published, in two dozen anthologies and in more the 80 magazines and literary journals, including Vital Signs, The Atlantic Monthly, and Poetry Northwest. He studied with the late Richard Hugo at the University of Montana, and has twice held the university's distinguished Richard Hugo Chair in Poetry.

Wrigley, who is a professor of English at the University of Idaho, is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and he served as Idaho's Writer-in-Residence for 1987-88. Other awards Wrigley has received include the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine, two Pushcart Prizes, and the 1997 Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest. He was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996.

While Wrigley's poetry is often shaped by the discoveries made from self-examination and solitude, Barnes finds a wealth of material to write about from the 12 years she spent in logging camps with her family, their involvement in Pentecostal fundamentalism, and her eventual turn away from that faith.

Her first memoir, In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, was published in 1996 and released in paperback in 1997. It was awarded the PEN/Jerard Fund Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography/Autobiography in 1997 and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. Barnes' follow-up memoir, Hungry for the World, was published in April 2000 and she is currently writing a new novel, Goodnight, Irene. Barnes also co-edited, with Mary Clearman Blew, Circle of Women (1994), an anthology of contemporary western women writers.

Barnes' poems, short stories and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, including Shenandoah, The Georgia Review and Northern Lights, and her work has been reprinted in anthologies such as Idaho Unbound and Tumblewords.

Barnes, who is an assistant professor of English at the University of Idaho, is the recipient of a variety of awards and honors, including a 1995 Academy of American Poets Prize from the University of Montana and a 1991 Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellowship.

The Simpson-Duvall Lectureship honors two of Whitworth College's most distinguished professors: Dr. Clarence Simpson, professor of English from 1953 to 1980, and Dr. R. Fenton Duvall, professor of history from 1949 to 1981.

The annual lectureship is held in appreciation for Simpson's and Duvall's years of commitment and contribution to Whitworth College. The lecture is held once each calendar year, and topics alternate between the disciplines of history and English.


Doug Sugano, professor of English, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4212 or dsugano@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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