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Gina Ochsner - Speaker for Mystery of Place conferenceGina Ochsner
Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, Oregon and divides her time between writing and teaching at Corban Universtiy and with the Seattle Pacific’s Low-Residency MFA program.  Ochsner has been awarded a John L. Simon Guggenheim grant and a grant from the National Endowment of Arts. 

Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker,  Image, Tin House, Glimmertrain and the Kenyon Review. She is the author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and  the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. 

Her most recent work The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight (Portobello and HMH) received the Grub Street Book Prize and was long-listed for the Orange Prize.  After traveling several times to Latvia, Ochsner has just completed  novel set in Eastern Latvia in which eel fishing, enormous furry ears on small boys, Latvian folk songs called “dainas”,  Latvian mythology and  mushroom hunting all figure prominently.

Currently Ochsner is researching Romani culture in Moldova, Romania, Latvia and in the Western United States.  In the meantime, she keeps busy writing short stories and telling as many tall tales as friends and family will tolerate.

Selected works by Gina Ochsner


John F. Deane - Speaker at the Mystery of Place ConferenceJohn F. Deane

John F. Deane was Born Achill Island 1943. He founded “Poetry Ireland,” “The National Poetry Society” and The Poetry Ireland Review.

He has published several collections of poetry and some fiction as well. He won the “O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry,” “The Marten Toonder Award for Literature” and, in addition, poetry prizes from Italy and Romania.

He was elected Secretary-General of the European Academy of Poetry in 1996. He was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot prize and The Irish Times “Poetry Now Award,” and has won residencies in Bavaria, Monaco and Paris.

He is the author of a poetry collection “The Instruments of Art”, Carcanet 2005; “In Dogged Loyalty”, essays on religious poetry, Columba 2006; and, his latest fiction is “The Heather Fields and Other Stories,” Blackstaff Press 2007.

His latest poetry collection, “A Little Book of Hours”, came from Carcanet in 2008. He is a member of Aosdána, the body established by the Arts Council to honor artists “whose work had made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland”. In 2007 the French Government honored him by making him “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.”

In 2008 John F. Deane was visiting scholar in the Burns Library of Boston College and in 2010 he saw the publication of a new novel, "Where No Storms Come", and a new collection of essays, "The Works of Love". His new collection of poems, "The Eye of the Hare" came from Carcanet in June of 2011. April 2012, John F. Deane was Distinguished Visiting Professor in Suffolk University, Boston, USA and in October 2012, "Snow Falling on Chestnut Hill: New & Selected Poems", was published by Carcanet.

The poems of John F. Deane have been translated and published, in book form, in Italy, Bulgaria, France, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Argentina and Slovakia.

Selected works by Deane


Brenda Bynum - Dramatic Reading for conferenceBrenda Bynum
Brenda Bynum has been an actor and director in Atlanta since 1973, working primarily at the Alliance Theater where she was also the Acting Teacher for the nationally-known Professional Intern Program.

She served on the Board of Trustees for the Atlanta Arts Festival, The Board of Directors and Executive Committee for Nexus Contemporary Arts Center and was President and Board Chair of the Atlanta New Play Project for two terms. She also served on Grants Advisory Panels for the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Fulton County Arts Council.

From 1983 until 2000 she was a Resident Artist and member of the Faculty at Emory University in the Department of Theater Studies, where, after her retirement, her colleagues  honored her with the establishment of The Brenda Bynum Award which is  presented each year to an outstanding theater student.  In 2004 she received the Heilbrun Distinguished Emeritus Research Fellowship at Emory and in 2005 she was named by WABE as a Lexus Leader of the Arts in Atlanta.

One of her primary academic and performance interests has been the work of Samuel Beckett and she has acted in or directed most of his plays and promoted the production of his entire canon of dramatic works in Atlanta’s professional theaters, a project completed in 2006.

In the late seventies she was a co-founder of the first theater in Atlanta run exclusively by women, T.H.E. Theatre, Ltd., which produced critically-acclaimed productions for seven years. During and since that time she has participated in the development of over a dozen original performance pieces based on the lives and works of real women , the most recent being “Jordan is So Chilly: An Encounter with Lillian Smith” which premiered in April , 2013 and was commissioned by the Lillian E. Smith Foundation to honor one of the American South’s most gifted writers and distinguished human rights activists.

Ms. Bynum’s professional papers are collected in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia.


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