Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers' Conference Welcome to Feature Author Wang Ping

Janine Harrison
Wang Ping will read work and install Kinship of Rivers Flags for a temporary exhibit as part of the 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference Welcome.  Indiana Writers’ Consortium has partnered with Indiana University Northwest, who will host the event on October 9th, at 8 PM, in the Gallery of Contemporary Art. 
Wang Ping teaches creative writing at Macalester College, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Most recently, Wang collaborated with British filmmaker Isaac Julien on Ten Thousand Waves, a film installation that premiered in London, about illegal Chinese immigration. She then published a poetry collection of the same title (Wings Press, 2014).
Wang moved from China to the US in 1986.  She has also published American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), The Magic Whip (poetry, 2003), The Last Communist Virgin (stories, 2007), and All Roads to Joy: Memories along the Yangtze (2012), all from Coffee House Press.  She co-translated and edited the anthology New Generation: Poetry from China Today (Hanging Loose Press, 1999) as well as co-translated the anthology Flash Cards: Poems by Yu Jian, (Zephyr Press, 2010) with Ron Padgett. Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities, and in 2002, Random House published the paperback edition.  In addition, The Last Communist Virgin won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award and Asian American Studies Award.  Wang has had two photography and multi-media exhibitions, "Behind the Gate: After the Flooding of the Three Gorges” at the Janet Fine Art Gallery, Macalester College, 2007, and “The Steel Dragon” at the Banfill-Lock Cultural Center, 2008. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council of the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board and has received the Bush Artist Fellowship, Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and the McKnight Artist Fellowship.
Wang Ping was born at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai, and raised on an island in the East China Sea that is fed by the Yangtze, which helps to explain why she spearheaded Kinship of Rivers, a five-year interdisciplinary project designed to create kinship among Yangtze and Mississippi communities as well as to foster awareness, via art, literature, music, food, and river-flag installations, of the rivers’ ecosystems.  Thanks to visits by Wang and other artists to river communities and schools, over 2,000 River Flags, inspired by Tibetan prayer flags and made using hand-dyed fabric, have been created by participants along the Yangtze and Mississippi, among other rivers.  Flags carry art, poetry, and riverbank plant prints and travel widely between and within cultures, serving as liaisons of peace, clean water, and harmony.  The goal is for the project to culminate in 2016 with 10,000 flags and a documentary film.  According to Wang Ping, “We are water.  It runs through us like a river, like blood.  It is our blood, our mother.”  Wang will also be leading a flag and poetry workshop at the Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference on Saturday, October 10th.
The Steel Pen Welcome, which is free, is open to conference participants and the IUN campus and local community.  Event information is as follows:
October 9, 2015 
8 PM
Gallery of Contemporary Art
Savannah Center
Indiana University Northwest
3400 Broadway Avenue
Gary, IN  46408
(IUN is located approximately one block south of I-80 on the west side of Broadway Ave.  Park in the main lot.)
Light refreshments will be served.
For additional information about Wang Ping and the Kinship of Rivers project, please see: and  For the full conference schedule and registration information, please see: registration will take place until September 20th, after which late registration will be available for an additional fee until the end of the month.  Steel Pen includes a full day of breakout sessions, book fair, cocktail hour, dinner with keynote speaker Bryan Furuness, and other on- and off-site events throughout the weekend.  Please email with any questions. 

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