The Granfalloon festival brings together musicians, artists, thinkers, and good people from all walks of life for a multi-day celebration of art, ideas, and community. This includes a wide variety of authors, poets, and thinkers whose works are being featured, discussed, and read throughout the festival. Below are descriptions of works by our guest speakers, many of whom hail from Indiana and all of whom we are proud to call members of our karass.
Michelle Zauner – Crying in H Mart (2021)
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. At age 25, Michelle's mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She will be playing with her band at the outdoor music fest on June 4th as well as discussing her book at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Ashley C. Ford – Somebody’s Daughter (2021)
An extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated father and the path we must take to both honor and overcome our origins. For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. She's certain that one day they'll be reunited again, and she'll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he's in prison, and she doesn't know what he did to end up there. Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.
Ashley C. Ford is a keynote speaker and writer for the IU Writers Conference happening from June 2nd-5th and she will have a reading at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater June 2nd. In addition she will also speak at the PACE Social Justice Panel on June 3rd.
Kurt Vonnegut – Galapagos (1999)
Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. Follow along with the ghostly narrator Leon Trout as he narrates a pandemic that causes all female humans to become infertile, and how the species only survives because ten people become stranded on one of the Galapagos Islands away from the disease. In this inimitable novel, America’s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry—and all that is worth saving. Indiana native
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was an author whose work inspired the Arts and Humanities Council at Indiana University. His novel Galapagos was a defining inspiration for this Granfalloon festival both aesthetically and ideologically.
Michael Martone - The Blue Guide to Indiana (2001)
The master of the nearly true is back with The Blue Guide to Indiana, an ersatz travel book for the Hoosier State. Michael Martone, whose trademark is the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction, has created an Indiana that almost is, a landscape marked by Lover's Lane franchises and pharmaceutical drug theme parks. Visit the Trans-Indiana Mayonnaise Pipeline and the Field of Lightbulbs. Learn about Our Lady of the Big Hair and Feet or the history of the License Plate Insurrection of 1979. Let Martone guide you through every inch of the amazing state that is home to the Hoosier Infidelity Resort Area, the National Monument for Those Killed by Tornadoes in Trailer Parks and Mobile Home Courts, and the Annual Eyeless Fish Fry. All your questions will be answered, including many you never thought to ask (like: "What's a good recipe for Pork Cake?").
Michael Martone is a 2020 Fiction Shortlist honoree in the Indiana Authors Awards.
Lindsey Alexander - Rodeo in Reverse (2018)
Picture reversing a rodeo: the rider flies back onto the horse, the horse bucks into stillness. A whirling cast of characters engage in self-interrogation and self-discovery and wrestle in similar fashion in the pages of Rodeo in Reverse, a debut collection from Lindsey Alexander. Both time machine and microscope, Rodeo in Reverse is woven from bits of Americana: married life, art history, pioneers, and witches. These poems effortlessly traverse personal and historical pasts with tenderness and unrivaled humor. They offer a tour of American landscape—the trees with bitter crop of the South; the plains of the Midwest; the duels of a cartoonish Wild West. At once a wily romp and a lyric sweep, Rodeo in Reverse considers the possibilities and failures of domestic life on the never-ending quest of rounding up and defining the self.
Lindsey Alexander is a 2020 Fiction Shortlist honoree in the Indiana Authors Awards. She will also be participating in the Indiana Author Award Reading on June 1st at the Monroe County Library.
Maurice Broaddus - Pimp my Airship (2019)
All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protestor known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be. When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight for their freedom. Chased from one end of a retro-fitted Indianapolis to the other, they encounter outlaws, the occasional circus, possibly a medium, and more outlaws. They find themselves in a battle much larger than they imagined: a battle for control of the country and the soul of their people. The revolution will not be televised!
Maurice Broaddus is a 2020 genre winner in the Indiana Authors Awards. He will also be participating in the Indiana Author Award Reading on June 1st at the Monroe County Library.
Eugene Gloria - Sightseer in This Killing City (2019)
Eugene Gloria’s fourth collection of poetry captures the surreal and unreal feelings of the present. Through the voice of Nacirema, the central persona of the collection, who is a Filipina American woman with an ambiguous sexual identity, we are introduced to a character who chooses mystery and inhabits landscapes fraught with brutality and beauty. Flawed like America, Nacirema embodies ideas of wanderlust and self-discovery. In poems that recount her journey, Gloria invokes the spirit of 1970s soul music and of jazz, blending the urban lament of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane with the idiom of Stevie Wonder and Fela Kuti. Sightseer in This Killing City argues for grace and perseverance in these strange times.
Eugene Gloria is a 2020 poetry winner in the Indiana Authors Awards. He will also be participating in the Indiana Author Award Reading on June 1st at the Monroe County Library.
Peter Kispert - I Know You Know Who I Am (2020)
Throughout this striking debut collection we meet characters who have lied, who have sometimes created elaborate falsehoods, and who now must cope with the way that those deceptions eat at the very fabric of their lives and relationships. In the title story, the narrator, desperate to save a love affair on the rocks, hires an actor to play a friend he invented in order to seem less lonely, after his boyfriend catches on to his compulsion for lying and demands to know this friend is real; in "Aim for the Heart", a man's lies about a hunting habit leave him with an unexpected deer carcass and the need to parse unsettling high school memories; in "Rorschach", a theater producer runs a show in which death row inmates are crucified in an on-stage rendering of the New Testament, while being haunted daily by an unrequited love and nightly by ghosts of his own creation.
Peter Kisper is hosting the 2022 Fiction Class for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.
Kevin McKelvey - Dream Wilderness Poems (2018)
The 13,000-acre Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, named after Indiana's first state forester, is the state's only federally designated wilderness area. Since its inception in 1982, nothing with wheels is allowed in the wilderness. Principles of ecology and natural succession manage the wilderness. This collection engages the life and history of this wilderness region.
Kevin McKelvey is a 2020 Poetry Shortlist honoree in the Indiana Authors Awards. Hwill also be participating in the Indiana Author Award Reading on June 1st at the Monroe County Library.
Melissa Febos - Girlhood (2021)
A gripping set of stories about the forces that shape girls and the adults they become. A wise and brilliant guide to transforming the self and our society. In her powerful new book, critically acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them. When her body began to change at eleven years old, Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs. Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny.
Melissa Febos is hosting the 2022 Memoir Workshop for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.
Safiya Sinclair - Cannibal (2016)
Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multi-textured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.
Safiya Sinclair is hosting the 2022 Poetry Workshop for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.
José Vadi - Inter State: Essays from California (2021)
A debut collection of poetic, linked essays investigating the past and present state of California, its conflicting histories and their impact on a writer's family and life. California has been advertised as a destiny manifested for those ready to pull up their bootstraps and head west across to find wealth on the other side of the Sierra Nevada since the 19th century. Across the seven essays in the debut collection by José Vadi, we hear from the descendants of those not promised that prize. Inter State explores California through many lenses: an aging obsessed skateboarder; a self-appointed dive bar DJ; a laid-off San Francisco tech worker turned rehired contractor; a grandson of Mexican farmworkers pursuing the crops they tilled. Amidst wildfires, high speed rail, housing crises, unprecedented wealth and its underlying decay, Inter State excavates and roots itself inside those necessary stories and places lost in the ever-changing definitions of a selectively golden state.
José Vadi is hosting the 2022 Non-Fiction class for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.
Shruti Swamy - A House Is a Body (2020)
In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy's debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In "Earthly Pleasures," Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India's biggest celebrities. In "A Simple Composition," a husband's moment of crisis leads to his wife's discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade's edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.
Shruti Swamy is hosting the 2022 Fiction Workshop for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.
Nicky Beer - The Octopus Game (2015)
Highly intelligent and a master of camouflage, the octopus is a creature destined to thrive in the poetic ecosystem. In The Octopus Game, the figure of the octopus shape-shifts and reinvents itself throughout ocean depths, tide pools, aquariums, gardens, movies, pulp novels, fine art, and nightmares. Nicky Beer acts as the strange documentarian recording the bizarre, beautiful, and disturbing habits of creatures for whom subterfuge and mimicry are a means of survival.
Nicky Beer is hosting the 2022 Poetry Class for Indiana University's Writer’s conference.