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Gift of Freedom Award winner Barb Johnson reads at Richard Hugo House

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Barb Johnson's short story collection More Of This World or Maybe Another

The literary community has so many awards that it’s sometimes hard to tell the true winners’ medals from the $1 plastic trophies – but the Gift of Freedom Award is one of the most significant and worthwhile prizes to have appeared in recent years. Awarded every two years to a woman writer by the A Room Of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), the $50,000 grant can literally make a career.

Previous award winners have included Jennifer Tseng, Meredith Hall and Summer Wood, and in 2009 the grant was awarded to New Orleans writer Barb Johnson. On Saturday July 10, 2010, Johnson and two other writers will read from their work at Seattle’s Richard Hugo House, to celebrate the work and achievements of AROHO.

Barb Johnson’s collection of stories More Of This World or Maybe Another follows four characters through the streets of New Orleans, as they struggle against the restraints of poverty, addiction, and history itself. It’s a collection that blurs the boundaries between short fiction and the novel, as the stories interconnect and touch upon each other with their shared themes, and it’s easy to see why Johnson has won an admirable list of prizes including the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. Barb Johnson will be using the Gift of Freedom Award to work on her debut novel.

In addition to Johnson’s reading, there will be readings by Seattle author Catherine Kirkwood, whose debut novel Cut Away was published in April, and fellow Seattleite Kayleen Dunson. The event is free and unticketed, and begins at 6pm on Saturday July 10, 2010. Richard Hugo House can be found at 1634 Eleventh Avenue, just north of Pine in Capitol Hill.

For further information on AROHO and the Gift of Freedom Award visit the A Room Of Her Own Foundation website, and follow our CultureMob Seattle Books blog for future literary events in and around Seattle.