About this Event
Join us at the 54th Annual UND Writers Conference, "The Healing Arts," featuring a panel discussion on "The Arts and Well-being" featuring award-winning fiction writers Morgan Talty and Alejandro Varela, memorist and poet, Juliet Patterson, as well as textiles artist Niki Tsukamoto!
About the authors/artists
Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. He is the author of the critically acclaimed story collection Night of the Living Rez from Tin House Books, which won the New England Book Award, was a Finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, and is a Finalist for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. His writing has appeared in Granta, The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. A winner of the 2021 Narrative Prize, Talty’s work has been supported by the Elizabeth George Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts (2022). Talty is an Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing and Native American and contemporary Literature at the University of Maine, Orono, and he is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in creative writing as well as the Institute of American Indian Arts. Talty is also a Prose Editor at The Massachusetts Review. He lives in Levant, Maine.
Access his work at https://www.morgantalty.com/
Alejandro Varela is a writer based in New York. His writing has appeared in the Point Magazine, Boston Review, Harper's, Split Lip, the Georgia Review, the Rumpus, the Brooklyn Rail, the Offing, and the New Republic, among other publications. He is a 2019 Jerome Fellow in Literature. He was a resident in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2017–2018 Workspace program and a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Nonfiction. Alejandro is an editor-at-large of Apogee Journal. His graduate studies were in public health. His first book, The Town of Babylon (National Book Award nominee, longlist), was published by Astra House in 2022. His second book, The People Who Report More Stress, is forthcoming (Astra House, 2023). Varela believes strongly in reparations, land back, a national health service, and a thirty dollar minimum wage pegged to inflation as interventions essential for the collective liberation of our society. Access his work at alejandrovarela.work. You can also find him on Twitter: @drovarela and IG: @alejandrovarela.work
Juliet Patterson is the author of Sinkhole: A Legacy of Suicide (Milkweed Editions, September 2022) and two full-length poetry collections, Threnody, (Nightboat Books 2016), a finalist for the 2017 Audre Lorde Poetry Award, and The Truant Lover, (Nightboat Books, 2006), winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award. A recipient of a 2011 Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in non-fiction, and a 2010 Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, she has also been awarded fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Minneapolis-based Creative Community Leadership Institute (formerly the Institute for Community and Creative Development). She teaches creative writing and literature at St. Olaf College and is also a faculty member of the college’s Environmental Conversations program.
Access her work at https://www.julietpatterson.com/
Niki Tsukamoto (b. 1974) is an artist living in the forest above Los Angeles whose practice centers traditional craft and herbalism encompassing natural dyes and ﬁbers, stitch work, and weaving. Her work is deeply informed by the Wiener Werkstätte approach of coupling avant-garde aesthetics with traditional methods and the Bauhaus belief in the oneness of the artist and the craftsman.
As with both of the proceeding movements, the underlying principle of her practice is the creation of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or "total work of art”. Her daily practice is focused on the making of medicinally dyed cloth created with speciﬁc color frequencies from plant sources and meditations on our human conscious evolution through ritual and devotion.
Expanding on her work of the past two decades exploring myth-making, collective consciousness, and universal forms of symbolism, her current work is based in weaving, sewing, and dyeing touchstones of piecework aligned with the ideas of the original makers of jogakbo in the ﬁrst century BC in what is now known as Korea. Scholars believe these cloths to have originally been made to provide divine protection and luck to the contents, stitching the creator’s concern and respect for the receiver into fibers. In our current era of increasingly unsure times, this work places a focus not on exacting technique, but on imbuing our lives with a sense of magic and purpose. It attempts to create an environment of reassuring touchstones and trust by using decorated fabrics as a thread connecting us through time to our most primal form of storytelling and a means of expanding the limitations of spoken language.
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