Fiction writer Dan Chaon to be in residence Oct. 25-26

CONWAY — Fiction writer Dan Chaon will visit the University of Central Arkansas as artist in residence Oct. 25-26.

Chaon, who heads the writing program at Oberlin College, is the author of the 2009 national bestseller, Await Your Reply, named one of the 10 best books of the year by Publisher’s Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Chaon will give a public reading in the College of Business building, room 107, at 7:30 p.m. A Q&A and book-signing will follow. On Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m., he will conduct a master class with UCA creative writing students in Thompson Hall, room 331.

All events of the residency are free and open to the public.

“I think Dan Chaon has much to teach our students about crafting literary fiction,” said Dr. John Vanderslice, associate professor of writing and the faculty sponsor for the residency. “And as an author who has earned distinction both as a short story writer and as a novelist, he can speak to the crucial differences between the two, what is the essential ‘problem’ in each genre that a writer must tackle.”

The American Library Association, the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune also named Await Your Reply among 2009’s best fiction. Chaon also wrote Fitting Ends and Among the Missing (a 2001 National Book Award finalist) and You Remind Me of Me (named one of the best books of the year by the Washiington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor and Entertainment Weekly).

His fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He won the 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His new collection of short stories, Stay Awake, is due next spring.

“Just hearing him read from his own work, students will learn about handling matters of plot and character,” Vanderslice said. “But the master class should prove very valuable, too. He is a shrewd, eloquent and entertaining speaker. The students will enjoy his presence, his wisdom and his writing.”

For more information, contact Vanderslice at (501) 450-3653 or

The Artist in Residence program is funded by UCA’s arts fee and is administered by the College of Fine Arts and Communication. For more information, call the Office of the Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication, at (501) 450-3293 or e-mail