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Lafayette Library AND
learning center foundation

Distinguished  Speakers Series Presents

Writing Fiction From Your Roots

a conversation with
Flannery O'Connor Award
for Short
Fiction Award Recipients 

Carol Roh Spaulding and Anne Raeff
with Series Editor Lori Ostlund

Thursday, October 19, 2023
6:30 PM | Don Tatzin Community HallThursday



Join award recipients Carol Roh Spaulding (2022) and Anne Raeff (2015) as they share insights into how they draw on their family history in creating their fiction. Both write stories from historical events that shaped the trajectory of their families’ lives and led them to the United States.

Carol Roh Spaulding’s family emigrated just prior to the Immigration Act of 1924, the inciting incident in her story cycle and one that makes her work unusual in terms of Korean American literature. Waiting For Mr. Kim and Other Stories charts shifting definitions of “Americanness” through four generations of a Korean American family.

Anne Raeff’s award-winning story collection The Jungle Around Us was inspired by her family's experiences as refugees from the Holocaust and the Soviet Union. While Anne writes directly out of the stories told to her by her grandparents and parents, Carol wrote to fill the void: nobody in her family told such stories.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The prize was established by University of Georgia Press to encourage gifted emerging writers and has become an important proving ground for writers.

Titles by each author will be  available at the program. Orinda Books generously donates a percentage of event book sales to the Library.

Carol Roh Spaulding received the 2022 Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction for Waiting for Mr. Kim and Other Stories. Her new novel, Helen Button, winner of the Eludia Award from Hidden River Arts, is forthcoming from Sowilo Press in 2024. Carol is a California native and granddaughter of Korean Immigrants. She teaches at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Anne Raeff received the 2015 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction for The Jungle Around Us.  The collection was a finalist for the California Book Award and was on The San Francisco Chronicle's 100 Best Books of 2017 list. Anne is the author of two novels, Only the River and Winter Kept us Warm, which won the silver medal for the California Book Award for Fiction.


Lori Ostlund is the Series Editor of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her first book, The Bigness of the World, won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the California Book Award for First Fiction, and the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. Her second book, After the Parade was a NY Times Editors’ Choice, and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

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