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Friday, December 20, 2013

January 1 - Heyday Winner Keenan Norris

Tonight, New Year’s Day, on Bibliocracy, KPFK 90.7 FM:  Novelist KEENAN NORRIS. The arrival of Keenan Norris’s first full-length work of fiction ends, happily, the anticipation he’s generated among fans of a young writer and scholar, an author so far of winning short stories.  It’s been acknowledged with his novel, Brother and the Dancer chosen as winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award.  This is a big deal indeed, publication of a work of fiction honoring the late, legendary California writer and teacher Jim Houston, the second of Heyday’s annual selections.  Norris grew up and was educated in the Inland Empire, holds an MFA from Mills College and a PhD from the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include urban literature and the publishing industry. He teaches English, African-American Literature and promotes the AFFIRM program at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California. His work, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared in the Santa Monica Review, Green Mountains Review, and Evansville Review, the online journal Connotation Press, in the terrific anthology, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, and BOOM: A Journal of California. He is editing Scarecrow Press’s upcoming collection of critical essays Street Lit: Popularity, Controversy & Analysis and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  This debut novel traces the life choices of two African American young people from Highland, California, exploring race, class, and geography in an idiomatic and intimate, sociological and yet personal dual coming-of-age novel. Urgent and philosophical, political and poetic, this novel marks, as they say, the bright beginning of a career by a talented young writer.  Thanks for listening.  Happy New Year.

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