From literary fiction to true crime | Culture & Leisure


Aspen Words announced its lineup for its 26th annual Winter Words program on Monday. Spanning genres and generations, the nonprofit literary association presents five writers’ conferences scheduled from January through March.

Winter Words tickets and season passes go on sale December 1. Aspen Words is hosting a season kick-off party that day from 5-7 p.m. at the Red Brick Center for the Arts, where community members can purchase tickets, passes and books in person. The event is free and open to the public and in conjunction with the opening of the Red Brick Resident Artists exhibition.

This year, all five Winter Words events will be held in person and streamed live for virtual access. Offering both options for each author conference is a different hybrid model than past seasons — in which some or all events were virtual-only, Aspen Words chief executive Adrienne Brodeur explained.

Brodeur said this season is designed to reach the greatest number of viewers locally and nationally. And when it comes to addressing the roster of writers each year, she said the end goal is always to cultivate as varied and rich a series as possible.

“It’s about understanding that different readers and audience members will want to engage with different writers and are excited about different writers,” Brodeur said. “It’s always been a goal of ours, to expose the community to more types of writing and from more perspectives.”

There’s a real variety of storytellers on the list this year – from individual writers’ backgrounds to the works they’ll discuss and how they’ve mastered their literary craft.

Patrick Radden Keefe launches the series on January 9. The award-winning editor of The New Yorker magazine, Keefe will talk about his latest book, “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks.” Published in June, the book is a collection of a dozen articles from Keefe’s New Yorker on true crime and paints a deeply human portrait of everyone from con man to whistleblower and market dealer. black.

Long praised for his investigative journalism and mastery of narrative nonfiction, Keefe has “the magic of great writing married to compelling subject matter,” Brodeur said.

Following Keefe on Jan. 23, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a Boston-based psychiatrist, researcher, and educator, specializes in the area of ​​post-traumatic stress and PTSD treatment. Dr. van der Kolk is the author of the 2014 non-fiction work, “The Body Keeps the Score” – which was a #1 New York Times bestseller and is now available in 38 languages.

Brodeur explained that while “The Body Keeps the Score” isn’t a more recent work, like the others discussed throughout the series, Dr. van der Kolk’s book on trauma has retained its relevance over the years. years and particularly resonates today. He will discuss his work and studies around trauma with an audience in Aspen.

On February 15, Aspen Words will host Newbery Honor-winning poet, producer and author Kwame Alexander to share insight into his career and his latest young adult novel, ‘The Door of No Return’.

Brodeur mentioned that she’s been trying for a long time to get an author who writes for young people on the Winter Words series and said she’s thrilled to have signed Alexander for this year. Unlike the other four talks, which will be held at the Paepcke Auditorium, the event with Alexander is to begin at the Willits Arts Campus, Brodeur added.

On March 7, literary fiction writer Imbolo Mbue will talk about his second novel, “How Beautiful We Were”, about a fictional African village’s fight against an American oil company. Named by the New York Times as “one of the 10 best books of 2021”, this second book by Mbue keeps pace with her first book (“Behold the Dreamers”) when it comes to garnering accolades.

Closing the series on March 21, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks. Brooks will talk about his new work of historical fiction, titled “Horse” – which is based on the true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington.

Commenting on all of the season’s lineup, Brodeur noted the diversity of voices and a prominence among the storytelling coming to Aspen this season.

“Giving these landmark writers the space and platform to speak in Aspen is wonderful for them and for our community,” Brodeur said. “There is such a capacity to become an empath when we step out of the bubble of our own experience – reading stories and engaging in conversations around them is one of the best ways to do that.”

The conferences of the five authors will be followed by book signings. Individual tickets for Winter Words in-person events are $30 and $12 for the virtual option. An in-person season pass is $100 and a virtual access season pass is $50. Tickets can be purchased on from December 1.

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