Butler Visiting Writers Series: Michael Dahlie

Butler University‘s Visiting Writers Series has seen a lot of great authors and poets come through Indianapolis, including Mark Strand, Jonathan Lethem, Junot Diaz, and Jorie Graham, providing opportunities for budding writers to pick the brains of their heroes. However, most of these visiting writers are just that: visiting. They stay in the Circle City for an afternoon or a few days before jetting back home, only to come through Indianapolis again on their next book tour. However, the next Visiting Writer at Butler University plans to stay there for at least a year: Michael Dahlie, author of A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living, will be speaking as part of the Butler University Visiting Writers Series on Monday, January 31, 2011 at the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. But Dahlie will also be guest faculty at Butler throughout the 2010 – 2011 school year, so this Visiting Writers engagement won’t be his last appearance at the Indianapolis school.

Michael Dahlie received his undergraduate degree from Colorado University before going on to obtain two masters degrees, one in creative writing from Washington University at St. Louis and another in European history from the University of Wisconsin. Unlike some of the other authors that have appeared at the Visiting Writers Series, Michael Dahlie isn’t quite a veteran writer. He has released one novel, the aforementioned A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living, and his stories have appeared in a number of prominent literary magazines, including the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Tin House.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living was released in 2008 to much acclaim. Revolving around the story of Arthur Camden, a Manhattan socialite who finds himself victim to a series of unfortunate events like the destruction of his favorite fly fishing lounge, his family’s business, and his marriage, A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living is at times hilarious, at times heart wrenching, but always entertaining. The New York Times praised Michael Dahlie‘s success in creating a satisfying character (“Far from harping endlessly on his character’s sad-sack proclivities, Mr. Dahlie brings a real sweetness to Arthur’s voyage of self-discovery,” in this article), while another review called the novel “a tour de force that manages to combine mellow wisdom with wicked cleverness.”

The novel earned Michael Dahlie a decent amount of attention in the literary world. A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living won the 2009 PEN/Hemingway Award, a prestigious literary award that’s given annually to a debut novelist. With his PEN/Hemingway Award, Dahlie joined the ranks of Ha Jin, Bernard Cooper, and Jhumpa Lahiri, previous winners of the honor. More locally, Michael Dahlie won the 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award from the Whiting Foundation, a $50,000 prize that’s awarded to ten budding authors every year. And as mentioned previously, Michael Dahlie won’t be leaving Indianapolis immediately after his presentation for the Visiting Writers Series. Dahlie is the first Booth Tarkington Writer in Residence at Butler, slated to stay at the Indiana university to lead workshops, rub elbows with MFA students, and mentor others. Other Booth Tarkington Writers in Residence for the 2010 – 2011 school year include Jonathan Lethem, Jean Valentine, and Alicia Erian.

If you enjoy the understated humor, elegant prose, and acute social observations of A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living, don’t miss the chance to see its author, Michael Dahlie, speak as part of the Butler University Visiting Writers’ Series on Monday, January 31, 2011 at the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall. A recipient of the 2009 PEN/Hemingway award, the 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award, and the first Booth Tarkington Writer in Residence at Butler, Dahlie should prove to be an entertaining and insightful speaker, even if you haven’t read his novel. Like all other Indianapolis events under the Visiting Writers’ Series banner, Michael Dahlie’s presentation is absolutely free for Indianapolis arts lovers. Students will get to enjoy the presence of Michael Dahlie during the rest of the school year, but unenrolled Indianapolis people will only get this one chance to hear Michael Dahlie speak, so take advantage of it while you can!

Butler University Visiting Writers’ Series Presents Michael Dahlie
Monday, January 31, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
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Butler University
4600 Sunset Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46208

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