by Makayla Wamboldt
Diane Cook is no stranger to storytelling. After years sharing other people’s stories as a producer for This American Life, Cook is sharing some of her own. Man V. Nature, her 2014 debut collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction as well as the Believer Book Award. It also received Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway award and her stories have been published in Harper’s, Tin House, and Granta.
Cook’s stories explore a breadth of complex relationships between human beings and nature, the drive of human survival, and ultimately the deep roots of darkness and light that compose our humanity. Her distinct voice invites us into stories of sex, stories of motherhood, stories of cannibalism, and stories of friendship. Each is wrought with an inviting humor that welcomes us into who we are – both the good parts and the bad. The opening lines of the title story provide a small taste of the fresh voice Cook develops throughout her work to capture the intimate connection of man and nature:
“It had been days since Phil and his two oldest friends drunkenly fished from the middle of the great lake for fat trout, the sweet orange flesh of which tasted best grilled over charcoal, under stars tossed absurdly across the sky like birdseed.”
During the 2016 Get Lit! Festival, Diane Cook will be leading a two-hour writing workshop on Saturday April 16th, as well as giving a reading, answering questions, and signing books that same day. Both events take place at the Spokane Convention Center. The reading is free and open to the public; tickets for the workshop are available through Brown Paper Tickets.