The 2017 Featured Author is Lydia Peelle !!!
"Peelle writes her meaty characters with vigor and packs each tale with descriptions so subtly vibrant that they warrant multiple visits." —Publishers Weekly
FEATURED AUTHOR BRUNCH • SUNDAY • MAY 21 • 11am • WILKINSON PUBLIC LIBRARY
LYDIA PEELLE LitFest is thrilled to announce Lydia Peelle as the 2017 Featured Author. Her appearance in Telluride is sponsored by the award-winning Wilkinson Public Library. Her previous book, Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing, was a New York Times Book Review Critics' Choice book and received an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She is also the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an O. Henry Prize, and the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" Honor. And then there’s the Anahid Award for Armenian-American writers.
Peelle lives in Nashville, Tennessee, when not on a tour bus with her two children and husband Ketch, lead singer for the Old Crow Medicine Show. She'll duck out from the band’s tour and steal away to Telluride for this event, joining them again on the road when LitFest bids her adieu.
Lydia’s introduction to Telluride also has an academic connection. She is an adjunct professor of writing at Southern New Hampshire University with founding festival faculty and locally based writers Amy Irvine and Craig Childs. (She will be the first Featured Author that will also perform in Literary Burlesque, invoking the wilds and wildness of Tennessee.) She herself earned an MFA from the University of Virginia in addition to fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Ucross, Yaddo, and Ragdale. Of Peelle, Childs says “she is brilliant and complex.”
The Midnight Cool Set in 1916 Tennessee, The Midnight Cool is a rich tale of two flawed yet endearing grifters who pursue women, wealth, and a surprisingly valuable commodity for the troops in Europe: mules. Longtime horse traders and partners, they recently turned their talents to trading mules. A middle-aged Irish immigrant, Billy has a gift for illusion making damaged objects look new. His companion, Charles, the smooth-tongued teenage son of a prostitute, is a natural salesman, just like the mythical father he's never met. Longtime horse traders and partners, they ve recently turned their talents to trading mules. But in the summer of 1916, these seasoned grifters skilled in the art of the underhanded deal have just been swindled themselves. They're saddled with the one thing they may not be able to unload: a gorgeous, murderous black mare named The Midnight Cool. Charles should have listened to Catherine, the beautiful, rebellious daughter of Leland Hatcher, the richest man in Richfield, Tennessee, and the former owner of The Midnight Cool. The horse would be worth a fortune if she weren't a verified man-killer who attacks on sight. Charles and Billy are rooted in this muggy town until they can miraculously retrain their recalcitrant mare, and in the shadow of the growing inevitability of war, their bond begins to fray. Falling in love with Catherine and under the spell of the deceitful, wealthy Leland, and the vision of himself he'd like to be, Charles pulls away from the older man. Despite their growing distance, Billy and Charles find their business thriving when the war in Europe pushes the demand for mules sky-high and the United States enters the fight. But when a trade goes terribly wrong, Charles is forced to reevaluate his allegiance to his country, the moral implications of his lifestyle, his relationship with Catherine, and, ultimately, his mysterious and surprisingly deep connection to Billy. Populated by spirited, memorable characters, The Midnight Cool is a startlingly profound tale of aspiration, loyalty, and love and the eternal search for something lasting in a transitory world.
Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing Eight superbly crafted stories that peer deeply into the human heart, exploring lives derailed by the loss of a vital connection to the land. "This nimbly crafted group of lonely souls range from a one-legged taxidermist, who happens to be the only person in town who does not believe a hungry panther is on the loose, to a winter-bound woman, tormented by her ex-husband but saved by the most unlikely of creatures. In This Is Not a Love Story, a mother comes across a box of old photographs, which remind her of a summer she spent trying to turn a hobby into a career and a lush into a husband. In Sweethearts of the Rodeo, the narrator reminisces about working at a stable with her best friend, tormenting their handsome boss and the rich women who board their horses there. Yet another, The Still Point, follows a man traveling with a carnival, trying to outrun the loss of his twin brother and family home." —Booklist, starred review "A collection of stories so artfully constructed and deeply imagined they read like classics. It marks the beginning of what will surely be a long and beautiful career." —Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto