Badgerdog Literary Publishing, the Austin-based nonprofit, is devoted to inspiring and sharing great writing, and their fourth annual gala this Thursday, May 3 at The Long Center promises to do just that, with some extra glitz.
Local poet Jena Kirkpatrick will be creating hand-typed, on-the-spot original poems for guests on her vintage typewriter; Chorus Austin and jazz singer Liz Morphis will supply the tunes; and talented humorist and writer Mary Gordon Spence will emcee readings from students in Badgerdog’s Youth and Silver Voices in Ink programs, as well as from author and director of Harvard’s creative writing program Bret Anthony Johnston, who was recently awarded a Texas Institute of Letters award for his piece featured in the national literary journal Badgerdog publishes, American Short Fiction (ASF).
Badgerdog reached out to well-known writers like George Saunders, Owen Egerton, Joyce Carol Oates, Dean Young and more and asked them to inscribe the first pages of a blank journal with what inspires them.
The evening will also celebrate Donna and Philip Berber, who are being honored with the second annual Forrest Preece Literary Light Award. The Berber’s founded A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, which works to provide people struggling in undeserved communities in Africa, London and Austin tools for living better and more fully — with hope.
The Foundation has worked with Badgerdog to help East and South Austin students and seniors improve their literary skills and gain a sense of empowerment from the strength of their own voices.
As a way of expanding on the inspiration and hope embodied in the work of the Berber’s (and creating a kick-ass silent auction), Badgerdog reached out to well-known writers like George Saunders, Owen Egerton, Joyce Carol Oates, Dean Young and more and asked them to inscribe the first pages of a blank journal with what inspires them. The journals will all be on display (and up for grabs!) at the gala’s silent auction, between 6:30 and 7:40 p.m.
The goal of the evening, explains Sasha West, Badgerdog’s Director of Development, is to give guests the kind of literary experience that their support allows Badgerdog to give to others yearlong. Funds raised at the gala help deliver free writers-in-the-schools programs to undeserved Austin schools, produce readings such as the Light/Holocaust & Humanity project, and support independent publishing in the form of ASF.
And on a less tangible level, the gala gives guests a reason to dress-up and gush over the literary arts; it serves as a reminder of the immense benefit gained from creating and experiencing literature, and the importance of supporting that endeavor in both yourself and in others.
“I want guests to have a wonderful time and in the process, I want them to discover why writing and reading are so important in our community,” says West. “It’s not just the books we pick up, it’s also the way we tell our stories to each other and the innovative literary events that American Short Fiction helps us all experience. We want a robust, vital literary arts community in Austin. It starts with people at the gala getting excited about being a part of that.”
Badgerdog’s 2012 Annual Gala is being held at the Kodosky Donor Lounge, Long Center on Thursday, May 3 from 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here. Visit the event page, here, for more details.