Award-Winning fiction writer Jim Shepard visits Kansas City

Shepard is the 2012 UMKC Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fiction writer Jim Shepard, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) 2012 Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence, will appear in Kansas City on Monday night, February 27 at 6:30 at the Kansas City Public Library at the Plaza, 4801 Main Street. Free parking is available in the parking structure just south of the library, near the corner of 48th and Main.

This event is free and open to the public and will include a reading and an interview by New Letters On The Air host, Angela Elam, that will air later on the nationally-syndicated literary arts program’s weekly broadcast. Shepard will be in Kansas City for the three-day annual Cockefair Chair teaching residency that has long featured nationally renowned poets and prose writers in support of continuing education in the area.

Shepard will teach a free advanced fiction Master Class Sunday, February 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Cockefair Hall, Room 104, 5121 Rockhill Road, on the UMKC Volker Campus. During the class he will workshop stories by several graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and Media Arts. Community observers are welcome. Contact the Department of English, 816-235-1305, for more information. A copy of the stories to be discussed can be picked up in the English office, Cockefair 106, from 9-12 and 1-4, M-F.

While in Kansas City, Shepard will also visit with community writers, review manuscripts by fiction writers in UMKC’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Media Arts program, and visit two UMKC fiction-writing classes.

Author of the recent story collection “You Think That’s Bad” (Knopf, March 2011), Shepard’s third collection, “Like You’d Understand Anyway” was a finalist for the National Book Award and a winner of the Story Prize. Four of Shepard’s stories have been chosen for Best American Short Stories, one for a Pushcart Prize, and his book “Project X” won the 2005 Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction, as well as the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Vanity Fair magazine describes Shepard’s stories as having “a near spooky sense of empathy and a wit that finds its mark like lightning… the stories of Jim Shepard… transport readers light-years beyond what they think they know of the world.”

Shepard was born in Bridgeport, CT, in 1956. He received a B.A. from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) in 1978 and an A.M. from Brown University in 1980. He is the author of six novels and four story collections and his stories have appeared in Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, DoubleTake, The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and Playboy, among others. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, where he is currently the J. Leland Miller Professor of English.

This year, the Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence Program is sponsored by UMKC’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Media Arts, the Cockefair Chair program, and the Writers at Work Reading Series in cooperation with the Kansas City Public Library. Recent writers-in-residence have included Terrance Hayes, Margot Livesey, C.D. Wright, Edward P. Jones, Eleanor Wilner, Stuart Dybek, B.H. Fairchild and Mary Gordon.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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