Visiting Writers Series presents Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame recipient: Rilla Askew

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Visiting Writers Series presents Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame recipient: Rilla Askew

Faculty members in Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s English program invite the Northwestern and surrounding communities to the Visiting Writers Series where Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame Recipient Rilla Askew will be reading from a collection of her fiction works Tuesday, March 24, from 6:30-9 p.m. in the J.W. Martin Library at Northwestern-Alva. This event is free and open to the public.

Askew is an American novelist and short story writer born in the Sans Bois Mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma and grew up in Bartlesville. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with a bachelor’s degree in theatre performance and went on to study creative writing at Brooklyn College, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree.

“We’re thrilled that Ms. Askew will be visiting Northwestern to do a reading for us,” Dr. Kathryn Lane, English, Foreign Language and Humanities department chair and assistant professor of English, said.  “An inductee to the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, Rilla Askew is a renowned writer with a number of works to her credit. She’s not afraid to take on controversial topics and depict them with a humanity that is compelling.”

“The Mercy Seat,” Askew’s first novel, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, was a Boston Globe Notable Book and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Her second novel, “Fire in Beulah,” a novel about the Tulsa Race Riot, received the American Book Award and the Myers Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. Askew’s third novel, “Harpsong” received the Oklahoma Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, and the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas. Her newest novel, “Kind of Kin,” was published in January 2013.

Askew’s essays and short fiction also have appeared in a variety of journals, and her story "The Killing Blanket" was selected for the “Prize Stories 1993: The O. Henry Awards,” a collection of O. Henry Award-winning short stories. Her collection of short stories, “Strange Business,” received the Oklahoma Book Award in 1993.

Among being the author of four novels and several essays and short stories, she also received the 2011 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB), a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Askew is coming to Oklahoma from New York, where she resides with her husband, Paul Austin.

“We hope Northwestern and surrounding communities will show their support by attending,” Lane said.

For more information on Askew or the Visiting Writers Series contact Lane at (580) 327-8470 or