Hugo Lit Series | Unearthing: Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Matthew Olzmann, Arianne True, Zoser Dunbar
Every year, Hugo House commissions new prose, poetry, and songs based on a writing prompt. During the Hugo Literary Series, authors share the results. This year, we’ve decided to go with the theme re/birth to celebrate, if not the end of the pandemic, then at least some way of us living in the world with it, and the revival/resurgence of creativity that has been dormant for two long years.
For this evening's event, writers Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Matthew Olzmann, Arianne True, and Zoser Dunbar present their new works based on the sub-theme of unearthing: discover (something hidden, lost, or kept secret) by investigation or searching.
See the full 2022-23 Hugo Literary Series lineup here »
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This event will also be livestreamed! Purchase a livestream-only ticket to gain access to the stream during the event. The event stream recording will be available to view for livestream-ticket buyers through Friday, December 9.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Hailed as “original, politically daring, and passionately written” by Vogue, her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree earned the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, an Indie Next Pick, and a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection.
Her debut memoir The Man Who Could Move Clouds was named a TIME “Best Book of Summer.” Rojas Contreras brings readers into her childhood, where her grandfather, Nono, was a renowned community healer gifted with “the secrets”: powers that included talking to the dead, fortunetelling, treating the sick, and moving the clouds. The Man Who Could Move Clouds interweaves enchanting family lore, Colombian history, and a reckoning with the bounds of reality.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ essays and short stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Cut, Nylon, and Guernica, among others. She has received numerous awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, the Camargo Foundation, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. Rojas Contreras is a Visiting Writer at the University of San Francisco.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route and two previous collections of poems. He teaches at Dartmouth College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Zoser is a singer/songwriter and music bender whose music has no boundaries. With a soulful voice, thoughtful lyrics, and a guitar, his music shifts seamlessly between pop, hip-hop, R&B, and folk. The writing is personal, the music idiosyncratic, all to capture the feelings and mood of each song. With influences ranging from Ed Sheeran to Childish Gambino, a simple six-string, and mic, Zoser transforms into a “beat box,” lending percussive bass to funky and melodious rhymes. He made his recording debut in 2019 with the EP release “Genesis” followed by the EP “Evolve” in 2020, independently recorded and released. Zoser is currently the Co-Chair of the Totem Star Leadership Collective, a non-profit music and mentorship program for underserved youths.
As an emerging Seattle artist, Zoser began playing guitar when he was just 10-years-old. By the age of 12, he began penning his own lyrics and performing to local audiences in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. 2 years later, as a mentee of the 100 Black Men of America, he represented the August chapter and performed at the National Convention. Zoser remained a fixture on the local musical scene until relocating to Seattle where he graduated from West Seattle High School.
While in high school, Zoser was a gold medalist in the Seattle King County NAACP ACTSO competition where he went on to represent the branch at the National convention and was later inducted into the Washington Young Laureates program. Shortly after adjusting to the Seattle music scene, he went on to be a semi-finalist for” SoundOff! 2019”, PNW local music competition, and selected to participate in the More Music at The Moore, a Musician in Residency and Young Emerging Artists program.
By culling and synthesizing seemingly disparate musical forms and influences, Zoser has crafted a sound that is wholly and undeniably his own. The result is something spectacular to behold: a voice that conveys a world-weary ache and a bright optimism, and a sense of musicality that is both rhythmic and infectiously melodic. He is a singer, a storyteller and something of a revelation – not necessarily a soul singer but something rarer and more precious – a singer with soul.
Arianne True (Choctaw, Chickasaw) is a queer poet and folk artist based in Tacoma, WA. She teaches and mentors youth poets around Puget Sound and moonlights as a copyeditor. Arianne has received fellowships from Jack Straw, Hugo House, and Artist Trust, and is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She was recently the Seattle Repertory Theater’s first Native Artist-in-Residence. You can find more of her work collected online at ariannetrue.com.