Between the Covers: Antonya Nelson at Arroyo 8/20

Between the Covers: Antonya Nelson at Arroyo 8/20

The lady has a thing for ghostly mining towns in idyllic Rocky Mountain settings.

Award-winning author, Antonya Nelson

Award-winning author, Antonya Nelson

There is the one she bought piecemeal with her husband, a place with attitude (neighbors don’t speak to one another) and altitude (9,400 feet) that once upon a time produced lots of silver and other shiny booty – plus all the toxic residue that comes with the job.

Sound familiar?

She describes the place as “isolated and incorporated, yet without a single business.‘None of your business’ might be the town motto.”

And then there is Telluride.

Back in the day when Telluride was a very small mining town on its last legs, her family bought a shack at the intersection of Pine and Gregory, joining forces with the land barons du jour: miners, cowboys and the odd ghost.

Award-winning author Antonya Nelson is not coming to town for a book-signing and talk at Arroyo Wednesday, August 20, 7 p.m. She’s here – and has been every summer since her family found Shangri-La, in 1961, the year she was born.

The event at Arroyo is hosted by Between the Covers Bookstore to celebrate Antonya’s most recent collection of short stories, “Funny Once” (Bloomsbury 2014).


“Antonya Nelson’s gloriously debauched new collection, Funny Once, finds that conventions are made for flouting, from an eminent professor who sleeps with his young wife’s best friend to former college competitors who embark on a lost weekend.” –  Vogue

“[Nelson shows] great talent in constructing each story in its own unique world . . . [She] makes sure that we see the silliness alongside the strife, and the heart within the hardships.” –  Time Out New York, four stars

“Nelson’s run as one of the finest contemporary short story writers takes an exhilarating leap forward with her outrageously superb seventh collection. Her particular wizardry in the short form (Nelson is also the author of four novels) is found in her exceptional melding of pristine prose with a rampaging imagination and a comic’s perfect timing. Nelson is scandalously funny, her characters are royally screwed up and wildly inept, and their dire predicaments bust down the doors on the most painful of life’s cruel jokes, from betrayal to divorce, addiction, and old age. Nelson excels at multigenerational chaos, portraying with equal verve surprising children and ornery adults as well as neurotic dogs and places rife with hidden angst, namely Wichita, Telluride, and Houston . . . Each of Nelson’s magnetizing stories generates atomic vibrancy and achieves the psychic mass of a novel.” –  Booklist, starred review

Celebrated author Michael Chabon once said of his colleague, “I scan the tables of contents of magazines, looking for Antonya Nelson’s name, hoping that she has decided to bless us again.”

Antonya Nelson is the author of seven short story collections (including the new one) and four novels, including “Bound,” (Bloomsbury 2010). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook and many other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories.

Antonya teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program. Her awards include the Rea Award for Short Fiction, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and an American Artists Award. She makes her home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Houston, Texas – and Telluride.

“As kids we had complete freedom to roam the town, visit the (few) stores, go to the Nugget at night for a quarter to see films that were at least a month past release dates elsewhere.

As a teenager, just when the big ski boom started to really take off, I got into a fair amount of trouble of the adolescent type. Parties in the woods, shenanigans at the quonset hut by the old elementary, underage everything. It was wild and wonderful.

And as a young married with little kids, the gentrification and family-friendly modifications to town really synched up nicely. In fact, Telluride has been a perfect place for me in all of my developmental stages. I love the fact of a great library and coffee shops and restaurants!…

I have a deep and abiding love for this place, and consider it, fundamentally, to be where I feel most at home.”

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