University of Denver Novelists Launch Their Books at Leon Gallery Saturday

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The University of Denver's graduate creative writing program is getting ready to pump out a fire-hose of new novels over the next couple of months — well, at least two. DU Director of Creative Writing (and one of our 100 Colorado Creatives) Selah Saterstrom's much-anticipated, Katrina-inspired SLAB — which Square Product Theatre adapted into a multimedia stage production last year — will finally hit stands in late September. Meanwhile, the first novel from Spring Gun Press Fiction Editor and DU creative writing Ph. D. candidate Christopher David Rosales, Silence the Bird, Silence the Keeper, is due out at the end of August.

Both will be reading from their books at Leon Gallery at 7 p.m. Saturday, alongside Massachusetts poet Seth Landman, who will read from his collection Signs You Were Mistaken.

"There's a lot of things to be excited about," says Rosales. "It's a real honor to read with Seth and Selah, and to be reading from my first book." The book follows a family living in an L.A. run by corrupt politicians on one side, leftist guerrillas on the other and narco traffickers in between as they try to navigate to safety by illegally immigrating out of the U.S. — a story Rosalesinformed by his own time growing up in the '90s in a Southern California town bordering Compton and Long Beach, he explains: "It was impossible not to be aware of gang violence and hyper-aware of power dynamics; it grew out of that."

Rosales says he also might read from his second novel, due out in 2016 — yes, Rosales has his first and second novels coming out. "I'm pretty excited it worked out that way," he says. "To tell you the truth, that's 100 percent thanks to the creative writing community here. I went through the MFA at CU Boulder, so both of these manuscripts are manuscripts that people around Denver and Boulder mentored me on."

Saterstrom is one of those mentors. The readings at Leon are free; copies of Slab and Silence the Bird can be ordered in advance.

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