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Department of Languages and Literatures

FTRS features Jen Percy

Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2013

The FTRS 2012-13 season concludes with a reading by Jen Percy, author of the forthcoming nonfiction book Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism. Percy speaks on April 25 at the Hearst Center for the Arts.



Open Mic signup @ 7:00
Open Mic @ 7:15
Jen Percy @ 8:00

Demon Camp, a work of immersive nonfiction, details the story of a charismatic man--a Special Ops soldier returned from Afghanistan with PTSD--seeking solace in people who profess to be exorcists.  In so doing, it tells a story about the United States in an era of war, exploring the lives of soldiers and widows in the fragile period after the war.

“I spent significant time with the people in this book, sharing meals, taking long car rides, sleeping on couches, listening to the stories I needed and the stories I didn’t,” says Percy. “By doing so, I made myself vulnerable to them in a way I never expected--going through an exorcism, for example.  I took on a lot of trauma myself,” she notes, “but I’m grateful for this challenged me to think about what it means for writers to be witnessing and representing the vulnerability of their subjects--bodily, economically, politically.”

Jen Percy’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Indiana Review, AGNI, Best Women's Travel Writing, and has been featured on National Public Radio and BBC’s World News. Percy’s work has been recognized with a 2013 Pushcart Prize and the first place award in American Short Fiction’s Story Contest. She is a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and received an Iowa arts fellowship from the nonfiction writing program. Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism, is due out from Scribner/Simon & Schuster in 2014 and is now available in pre-order from leading booksellers.

The Final Thursday Reading Series begins on Thursday at 7 p.m. with open mic signup.  The open mic begins at 7:15.  Bring your best five minutes of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction to share.  Singer/songwriters are also welcome and can make use of the Hearst’s grand piano. Jen Percy will take the stage at 8 p.m. There will be a brief Q&A as time permits. Copies of work by regional authors will be available for sale.  Coffee is provided by Cup of Joe.  Final Thursday Reading Series is sponsored by Final Thursday Press, the Hearst Center for the Arts, and the UNI College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences.  FTRS returns for its 13th season on August 29 with featured reader Julianne Crouch, author of Traveling the Power Line: From the Mojave Desert to the Bay of Fundy.  Have a great summer.