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Valerie Laken at Writers in the Library, Feb. 25

Laken_smallValerie Laken will read at UT’s Writers in the Library, Monday, February 25th at 7 p.m. in the John C. Hodges Library auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

Valerie Laken is the author of the short story collection Separate Kingdoms (Harper, 2011), and the novel Dream House (Harper, 2009). She holds degrees in English and Russian from the University of Iowa and in Creative Writing and Slavic Literature from the University of Michigan. Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Valerie Laken has traveled throughout the world. She has worked and studied in Moscow, Prague, Krakow, Madison, and now teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Creative Writing program.

Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Writer, and The Chicago Tribune. Her honors include a Pushcart Prize, an Anne Powers Prize, two Hopwood Awards, a Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, and an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories.

Her short story collection Separate Kingdoms has been met with wide acclaim. The Chicago Tribune praises its “fine craftsmanship and powerful insight” and Library Journal calls it “vivid and evocative.” Likewise, her novel Dream House has been widely praised. The Kirkus Review says Laken “handles the fraught subjects of class, race, and family bonds with equal candor and sensitivity” and author Charles Baxter calls Dream House “sexy, sharp-eyed, and deeply haunted all at once.”

The author will also hold a Q&A session for all interested students, 3-4 p.m., Monday, February 25, in 1210 McClung Tower.

Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (, or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (

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