Novelist Ashok Mathur And Poet Emily Nilsen In Nelson

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Tom Wayman

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Novelist Ashok Mathur and Nelson poet Emily Nilsen.

The fourth and final reading in the 2016-2017 series marking 10 years of programing at Nelson’s Oxygen Art Centre will present Kelowna novelist, artist and educator Ashok Mathur and Nelson poet Emily Nilsen on Friday, May 5.

The duo’s reading begins at 7:30 pm, admission is free ($5 donation appreciated) and the event is open to the public. Oxygen is located at 320 Vernon Street, alley entrance.

Mathur’s most recent novel is A Little Distillery in Nowgong, published by Pulp Press in 2009. The book, according to the Vancouver Sun, “is gritty and realistic while embracing a graceful magic; it is emotionally resonant and very often hilarious. A Little Distillery is note perfect.”

Mathur, who heads the creative studies department at the University of BC’s Okanagan campus, is also an artist and curator. The novel was the basis of an artistic installation in Vancouver, Ottawa and Kamloops.

Nilsen’s first book of poems, Otolith, was published this spring by Goose Lane Editions. Her publisher describes the poems as being born in BC’s coastal rainforest: “These poems are full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Poems by Nilsen in 2015 were finalists for the CBC Poetry Prize and longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize.

Support for Oxygen’s celebratory reading series has come from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Writers’ Union of Canada, as well as from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. The readings are co-sponsored by Nelson’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. Oxygen, Nelson’s only artist-run centre, was founded in 2002 by artists formerly employed by the city’s Kootenay School of the Arts.