Co-presented with ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW. Two fiction writers out of Tacoma with first books read here this evening. Jason Skipper, who presently teaches creative writing and literature at Pacific Lutheran University, is here with a highly touted debut novel, Hustle (Press 53). Three generations are blessedand cursedwith the same propensities. "A Southern portrait of the artist as a young man, with marvelous characters that keep you savoring every scene." – Jaimy Gordon. "The central truth of Hustle is that we're all on the edge of a cliff. This is a fine story, honestly told." – Charles Baxter. Originally from Alaska, Melinda Moustakis uses her home ground as setting for her Flannery O'Connor Award-winning debut collection, Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories (University of Georgia Press). "Every so oftenmake that, all too rarelya work of fiction that is rooted in place appears in which the very languagenatural and elementalseems as much a feature of the terroir as the weather, soil, trees, rivers. Writers of the American SouthTwain, Faulkner, O'Connor, Weltycome immediately to mind. Bear Down, Bear North is set a long way from the American South. But Melinda Moustakis has in her debut collection of linked stories written such a book." – Stuart Dybek.