Hugo Literary Series: Benjamin Percy, Vanessa Hua, Keetje Kuipers, and SassyBlack
Fri, Mar 15 at 7:30pm
For the 2018–19 season of Hugo Literary Series — the first in our new home — we're looking back to look forward and asking the writers and musicians to create new things from the old. Each event within the series takes its theme from an iconic book — those whose titles have a resonance beyond the book itself.
Award-winning fiction writer Benjamin Percy (Red Moon, The Wilding); author and journalist Vanessa Hua, whose novel, A River of Stars, was named to the Washington Post and NPR’s “Best Books of 2018” lists; and well-known local poet Keetje Kuipers, will read new work on the theme The Metamorphosis, inspired by the title of Franz Kafka’s much-loved absurdist novella.
Space-age singer-songwriter SassyBlack — who has been featured by KEXP, Pitchfork, Afropunk, and others — will perform new songs to the same theme.
Benjamin Percy is the author of four novels, including The Dead Lands (Grand Central/Hachette, 2015), a post apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga. He is also the author of The Dark Net (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), Red Moon (Grand Central/Hachette, 2013), and The Wilding (Graywolf, 2007), as well as two books of short stories. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, the Plimpton Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics.
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, and the novel, A River of Stars, which O, The Oprah Magazine calls "a marvel" and The Economist says is "delightful." For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and in fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. She works and teaches at the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.
Keetje Kuipers has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College, and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellow in Poetry at Bread Loaf. A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in such publications as American Poetry Review, Orion, West Branch, and Prairie Schooner. In 2007 Keetje completed her tenure as the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, which provided her with seven months of solitude in Oregon's Rogue River Valley. She used her time there to complete work on her first book, Beautiful in the Mouth, which was awarded the 2009 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and was published by BOA Editions. Her second book, The Keys to the Jail, was published by BOA Editions in 2014. For four years, Keetje was a professor at Auburn University and an editor of Southern Humanities Review before deciding to leave in order to write full-time. She is currently at work on a memoir, a novel, and a third collection of poetry.
SassyBlack is a multi-talented, multifaceted musician. She is a vocalist, a composer, a producer, an educator and an unexplored galaxy made of fist-pump, funk, and beat-fertility. Her organic blend of experimental hip-hop, unpredictable syncopation and neon-womanism, Silver and Gold, is geeked-out and polished in the absolute best abnormal way. The fanny-pack-hologram has been billed the "hardest working" multi-layered performer on the West Coast and with praise from NYLON, The Fader, Okayplayer, Pitchfork, ESSENCE & more, it's easy to see SassyBlack is weaving her vocals and celestial style in a way that is unapologetic and funk worthy. After debuting her solo work in Berlin, Barcelona, London and the states, neo-soul-funk specialists all agree there is deeper satisfaction in SassyBlack's evolution.