MOUNT VERNON, OHIO– On Tuesday, September 13 author Ira Sukrungruang returns to the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County for a reading, book discussion and audience Q & A as part of the Library’s Ohio Writers Series. Patrons may remember Ira from the Poetry Potluck Series at the Brown Family Environmental Center, or his recent appearance as moderator for Lee Martin’s visit in May. This time, Ira appears as an author in his own right to discuss his lauded memoir, This Jade World.
Sukrungruang will be joined in conversation by Elizabeth Dark, Associate Director of Programs at the Kenyon Review. This event includes a reading from This Jade World, delicious mocktails, and an audience Q & A. Doors will open at 6:30 pm at the Library’s Outdoor Annex, 201 N. Mulberry Street in Mount Vernon (rain site: Urton Clockhouse in Ariel Foundation Park).
This Jade World was published in 2021 by Nebraska University Press as part of its American Voices Series, and is the moving portrait of Sukrungruang’s exploration of love. Writer Kao Kalia Yang says, “In This Jade World, Sukrungruang offers us a prayer and a meditation on the beginnings and endings of love. The love of parents and their children. The love among men and women. The love between the skin we live in and the memories we house. In this rare and beautiful offering, we experience a man undone by love and his journey to salvage hope in the face of incredible loneliness and doubt, a search for salvation found first in a dream.”
The book giveaway for This Jade World begins Monday, August 30th. Patrons may stop by the Main Library (201 N. Mulberry Street in Mount Vernon) during business hours to pick up a free copy, available while supplies last. The book giveaway and the Ohio Writers Series are made possible by Humanities Grants for Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The Ohio Writers Series is a May-October program featuring writers from the Buckeye State. Ira Sukrungruang is an alumnus of Ohio State University’s celebrated MFA program in Creative Writing and the Richard L. Thomas Chair of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. He is the author of four nonfiction books: This Jade World, Buddha’s Dog & Other Meditations, Southside Buddhist, and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy; The Melting Season, a short story collection; and a poetry collection, In Thailand, It is Night.
Sukrungruang was born in Chicago to Thai immigrants. He earned his BA in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers and Writing Program (AWP), and is currently on the Advisory Board of Machete, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press dedicated to publishing innovative nonfiction by authors who have been historically marginalized. Sukrungruang is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award for Southside Buddhist, fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Arts and Letters, and the Anita Claire Scharf Award in Poetry. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Rumpus, American Poetry Review, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is the president of Sweet: A Literary Confection, a literary nonprofit organization.
The Library’s reading series is a collaboration with Mount Vernon Arts Consortium, the Kenyon Review, Kenyon College Office for Community Partnerships, and Ariel-Foundation Park. The final event in the Library’s Ohio Writers Series features Lyn Ford (October 11), Affrilachian storyteller and author.