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Two Idaho Authors Take Home Prestigious Whiting Writers' Awards

And Jacque Crist speaks at Enso Artspace

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Big news for two local authors. Daniel Orozco and Kerri Webster both received a 2011 Whiting Writers' Award at a banquet in New York City on Oct. 25. Each year, the prestigious $50,000 Whiting award is given to 10 up-and-coming writers from across the United States. According to Cort Conley at the Idaho Commission on the Arts, this is an unprecedented honor for the state.

"For Idaho to get two, and in the same year, is astounding," Conley wrote.

Whiting Awards have been bestowed upon such household names as Jeffrey Eugenides, Michael Cunningham and Kim Edwards before they were famous. Denis Johnson, a currently Idaho-based author, received a Whiting Writers' Award in 1986, before he moved to Hope.

In visual arts news, Enso Artspace is featuring an exhibit called the Nature of Things, which is comprised of artwork that explores trees and other flora. The show includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and mosaics from Enso members Andrea Merrell, Cate Brigden and Lisa Pisano. The exhibition runs through Friday, Nov. 11, at Enso Artspace, 120 E. 38th St., No. 105 in Garden City.

If you're looking to learn more about the Nature of Things and connect with the artists directly, visit Enso on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. for Coffee-Talk-Art. Jacqueline Crist, former owner of Boise's J Crist Gallery, is giving a presentation about the artwork, and there will be a light brunch served. For more information, visit ensoartspace.com.

Theater enthusiasts haven't been left out. Alley Repertory Theater's Salons in the Alley allows theater-goers to participate in the plays they watch through conversations about the play's cultural context and meaning. Participants can watch a rehearsal, meet the playwright and tour backstage before they take their seats in the audience.

The first Salon will focus on HEAD, a play about crime and punishment in modern Iraq, written by Oliver Russell Stoddard. The performance examines a beheading and its consequences with more gallows humor than most of us are used to seeing on TV news. If you're interested in the story and people behind HEAD, head down to Visual Arts Collective for free Salons on Thursday, Oct. 27, Thursday, Nov. 3, and Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. Email Artistic Director Buffie Main at buffie@alleyrep.org for more information.

Early bird tickets for HEAD, which runs Wednesday, Nov. 9-Friday, Nov. 18, at Visual Arts Collective, are $10 through Tuesday, Nov. 1. For more information about HEAD or Salons in the Alley, visit alleyrep.org.

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