01 August 2014

announcing utah lit for august

Co-editors Kase Johnstun, Sherri Hoffman, Mary Johnstun
I am thrilled to announce that Utah Reflections has been selected by the Salt Lake Tribune as the Utah Lit for August. The Tribune book club will discuss the essays and poetry this month, publish a feature piece on August 24, and host an online TribTalk on August 29 at 12:15pm, moderated by Jennifer Napier-Pearce.

This is some exciting attention to the terrific writers collected in our book, all of whom have personal connections to the Wasatch Front, including Utah's poet laureate Lance Larson, poet Katharine Coles, and authors Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston, and Stevan Allred. I know I speak for all of the editors when I say it has been a joy to work with each and every one of our contributors, including some stunning images of the Wasatch Front by photograhers such as Danel W. Bachman, Jason Chacon, Ben Steiner, Aric Russom, and Kathryn Hale.

You can participate in the book club reading and discussions. Post comments and questions about the book at Facebook/UtahLit or send them in email to ellenf@sltrib.com or jnpearce@sltrib.com.

"Like" our Utah Reflections Facebook page for ongoing updates and details about all the monthly happenings for the book, including some upcoming reading events with our authors.

15 July 2014

all roads lead to utah

Since school at UWM let out in May, I've not stopped in any one place for more than three weeks at a time. Utah, Washington, California, and Colorado with a second round of Utah, California, and Washington left to go before I return to Wisconsin. It's a classic summer road trip.

Part of the circle back to Salt Lake City is for the launch of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front. This has been such an exciting project. I have enjoyed working with my fellow editors, Kase Johnstun and Mary Johnstun, and I have been so impressed by each of our contributors. The reach of these writers touches and inspires me. As well, the quality of photography captures the unique range and scope of the Wasatch Front.

The Salt Lake valley is my birthplace. To some extent, it will always be a touchstone wherever I may roam.

Here are the details for the launch party:

Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front.
Tuesday, July 22
The King's English Bookstore
1511 South 1500 East
 Salt Lake City,  Utah 84105

Reading: 7:00 - 9:00pm (MDT)
Authors attending: Jana Richman, Chadd VanZanten, Sylvia Torti, Joni Haws, Phyllis Barber, Jeff McCarthy, and Stevan Allred.

You can RSVP on our Facebook event page:

And stay updated on upcoming readings:

Hope to see you there!

~ sherri

Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will

~ from "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica, written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich

09 May 2014

2014 uwm english departmental awards

I am pleased and honored to have received three awards at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2014 English Departmental Annual Awards Ceremony alongside some talented and esteemed graduate students in the English PhD and MA programs.  It is an honor to be recognized for my writing as well as my academic work at UWM, and I am deeply grateful to the donors who endow these awards. 

Ellen Hunnicut Prize
Guest Judge: Christine Sneed
for an excerpt from The Wildish Boys - a novel

The contest recognizes an unpublished novel or novella by a UWM student. Excerpt is submitted anonymously. Judge's comments:
"The author's panoramic rendering of the characters and the two communities where these opening sections take place, as well as the vivid sensory detail on each page, were impressive and exciting."
Wladyslaw Cieszynski Literary Prize
Guest Judge: Christine Sneed
for "Seemingly Unrelated Events" published in december, V24, Dec. 2013

Contest recognizes a previously published work, poetry, fiction, or nonfiction by a UWM student. Submitted anonymously.

James A. Sappenfield Fellowship
The award recognizes academic excellence; recipients are selected by department faculty within each graduate plan: Literature and Cultural Theory; Rhetoric and Composition; Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Media, Cinema and Digital Studies.

I have just completed my first year of coursework in the PhD Creative Writing program. My thanks to the department faculty for their recognition and enduring support.

~ sherri

Getting it Right

Lying in front of the house all
afternoon, trying to write a poem.
Falling asleep.
Waking up under the stars.

~ by Jack Gilbert (1925-2012), from The Dance Most of All

03 January 2014

gathering up the wasatch front

One of my projects for 2014 is an anthology about the Wasatch Front in Utah. I am co-editing this project with my friends Kase Johnstun and Mary Johnstun. In a random coincidence of place and interest, Kase and I are alumni of both Weber State University and Pacific University.

The book will be called Wasatch Front Reflections and is scheduled to be published by the History Press later this year.

My Utah connection begins with family that were early settlers in the Salt Lake valley. I was born at Holy Cross Hospital while my parents were both students at the University of Utah. Even as I traveled around the world with my family as my father served in the U.S. Air Force, Utah was a big part of  my childhood. As far back as I can remember, my grandparents lived near Hill Air Force Base, the blue peak of Mt. Ogden rising up at the back of their house. While some of my best adventures took place further north in Cache Valley on my uncle's dairy farm in Benson.

With a rush of memories, I've enjoyed working on this book. The early submissions have been terrific, and I'm excited to see how it's coming together.

Last Call for Submissions 

For the anthology, we are seeking place-based essay, creative non-fiction narrative, memoir, research-based history, or immersion journalism pieces from 1500-2500 words in length. The collective works will provide a broad overview of the area, honor all aspects of culture, challenge the stereotypes, and explore the confluence of community, culture, and identity in the Wasatch Front. Pieces may be new or previously published (with appropriate permissions). The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2014.

Submit online at wasatchfrontreflections.submittable.com.

Follow the progress of the book on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WasatchFrontReflections.