Fact or Fiction? Two Authors For The Price Of One!

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  8/8/2006

Deschutes Public Library is pleased to welcome authors Larry Baker and Mike Lankford for a reading and signing on Thursday, August 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Brooks Room of the Bend Public Library. This program is free and open to the public.

Baker is the author of two novels. His first, The Flamingo Rising, published by Knopft in 1997, was made into a Hallmark movie in 2001. His second novel, Athens America, published by First Coast Books in March of 2005, tells the story of a small town that sheds its communal innocence when two teenagers are killed in a police chase gone bad. He has also published numerous short stories in literary periodicals, including The Georgia Review. He has taught creative writing at the Iowa Summer Writers Festival, and is currently teaching American Literature and Culture of the Twentieth Century for the University of Iowa. He resides in Iowa City, Iowa. In addition to being a writer, he has been a master-of-ceremonies at a strip club, Pinkerton security guard, Pizza Hut manager, college teacher, and has served two terms on the City Council of Iowa City.

Lankford, born in Oklahoma in 1951, isn't famous, nor does he know anyone who is. Like legions of teenagers before him, he fell in love with rock and roll and chose to play the drums. He pestered his mother for a kit, practiced in his garage, and eventually toured the country with two weirdly charismatic black musicians from Chicago. His first book, Life In Double Time, published by Chronicle Books in 1997, tells of his life on the road, in a dilapidated truck, playing anything and everything the audience requested.

The two met 20 years ago in Iowa City. Lankford was finishing his MFA in the Writers Workshop and Baker was finishing a PhD in English at the University of Iowa. “His memoir was in the process of being published, and I was finishing my first novel. Friends ever since,” says Baker of their fateful meeting. Lankford and Baker are very different writers, in style and genre. But the two have been passing work back and forth for each other's review for many years. Baker says “I wish I could compare us to a famous comedy team, like Abbott and Costello, but there ain't anybody else out there to match us. I do schtick, he does country.” Baker underscores their differences with a final, “Of course, he would disagree with everything I have just said.”

For information about this or other library programs, please call 312-1032.

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