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I’m headed to West Plains in a couple of weeks to talk at the Ozarks Studies Symposium sponsored by Missouri State University at West Plains. The program looks like a good one . . . some longtime Ozarks scholars whose names I recognize, and some new names I’m looking forward to getting to know. It’ll be nice to see my good friend Steve Yates again; he’ll be reading from his Juniper Prize-winning story collection Some Kinds of Love.

This event will be my first public reading from my new novel, This Old World. Up to now, only my publisher and a couple of agents have read it, along with an extremely small circle of loved ones. It’ll be interesting to figure out which passages work well with an audience. There’s an art to that — it took me a couple of readings from Slant of Light to learn which sections were engaging and easily comprehended in a spoken-word setting.

I’ll be reading again the following weekend at the Queen of the Prairies Arts Festival in Sedalia as part of a Spofest event. So if you’re near West Plains on the 20th or 21st, or near Sedalia on the 28th, come on over!