“Idaho stories run deep and broad in my family,” writes Idaho Writer-in-Residence Christian Winn. “These Idaho stories stuck with me, and I grew up to become a writer, a storyteller, a collector of characters, imagery, culture.”

From his short stories to novels, Winn has drawn from his Idaho ancestors which include his “great-great-great grandmother who came out on the Oregon Trail from Missouri with her husband in the 1870’s; Nettie Chip, who was the head of the Women Christian Temperance Union in Idaho, and who signed in prohibition with Governor Alexander; and great Uncle Lloyd, a grocery warehouse man who went into business with a grocer named Joe Albertson and opened the first Albertson’s.

“There is the story of my great uncle, Charlie Pryor, a bright industrious entrepreneur who for many years was known as ‘Dr. Baker,’ one of the only doctors in Idaho. The rub was that he had never gone to medical school. Yet, when he was condemned and called out as a charlatan and fraud Charlie went directly out and passed the medical exam with flying colors. Uncle Charlie, aka ‘Dr. Baker,’ later went to become a three-term Senator.”

Christian Winn will read from his work and present a talk on the writing craft on Tuesday, July 17, at 7 p.m. at the Monastery of St. Gertrude. This free event is sponsored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

Winn lives in Boise, Idaho, where he writes and teaches. He is the founder of the Writers Write fiction workshop series, co-founder and director of Storyfort, producer of the Campfire Stories reading series and the Couch Surfer Artist Series. He is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University, and the Boise State University MFA program.

His stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Award, as well as The Best American Mystery Stories. His story, “The Dirtiest Hamburger in the World,” won Gulf Coast’s annual fiction award. His story, “Rough Cut,” was published in a National Magazine award-winning issue of McSweeney’s.

“His short story collections, Naked Me, and What’s Wrong With You is What’s Wrong With Me are set in the west — California, Washington State, Idaho, Nevada — and peopled with men and women at the fringes, characters on the brink, coming to understand – sometimes overtly, sometimes obliquely – what it means to live in a flawed world. His characters are generally hopeful, willing to believe they might find peace, or a semblance of understanding….of our human walk down an often unsteady life-path.” (from www.christianwinn.com)

“Idaho offers the writer wide open spaces and endless uniqueness,” says Winn. In addition from reading from his own work Winn will give examples of published work from other writers and present a talk on craft, engaging the audience in short writing prompts and sharing. “We will talk about what the construction of stories is all about.”

The evening with Christian Winn will take place at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, in the Johanna Room at Spirit Center, on July 17 at 7 p.m. The event is free and made possible by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. For more information call 208-962-5065.