Presenter Bios


Mark Spragg is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, a memoir that won the 2000 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers award, and the novels, The Fruit of Stone, An Unfinished Life, and in 2010, Bone Fire. All four were top-ten Book Sense selections and An Unfinished Life was chosen by the Rocky Mountain News as the Best Book of 2004. Spragg’s work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Wyoming with his wife, Virginia, with whom he wrote the screenplay for the film version of his novel, An Unfinished Life, starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, and released in 2005. Mark and Kent met at the Mountains and Plains award event in 2000.

Sue Hodson retired in August, 2017, as the curator of literary collections for The Huntington Library, where all of Kent’s papers are kept. Sue oversaw all British and American literary manuscripts, from the renaissance to the present, and all modern literary rare works. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of California Archivists, and in 2004 she was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, the highest honor in the archival profession. She speaks and publishes often on archival and literary topics. She is currently working on an edition of the Korean War letters of Al Martinez, a former featured columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Sue and her husband, Peter, live in California.

Peter Brown has photographed the open landscape and small towns of the High Plains for the past thirty years. He often collaborates with writers, as he did with Kent in West of Last Chance. Brown’s photography and writing have appeared in many journals, including Harpers, DoubleTake, Life, PSN, The New Yorker, Aperture, American Photographer, Texas Monthly, 5280, The New York Times Magazine and SPOT. His work has been exhibited in several museums including the Menil Collection in Houston,The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art among others. He and his wife, Jill, live in Houston.

Gregg Schwipps was born and raised on a working farm in Milan, Indiana, and was a student of Kent’s at Southern Illinois University. Gregg’s essays and short fiction can be found in the collections Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers and Winesburg, Indiana: A Fork River Anthology. He co-authored Fishing for Dummies, 2nd Edition, which was published in May 2010. His first novel, What This River Keeps, was one of thirteen titles named to the Next Indiana Bookshelf, an honor celebrating Indiana’s bicentennial. Currently a Professor of English at DePauw University, Greg and his wife Alissa live with their two sons in Greencastle, Indiana.

Sorel Haruf, daughter of Kent and Ginger Haruf, graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1991 with a degree in French and Global Studies. She taught English in the Peace Corps in Thailand from 1992-1994. She has been a teacher for 30 years in Montessori, public, and Waldorf schools, and currently teaches English literature, poetry and creative writing at Tara Performing Arts High School in Boulder. She lives in Longmont, CO, with her daughter, Mayla and her dog and cat.

Carol Samson (Director/Playwright) recently retired as Teaching Professor Emerita at the University of Denver. A published short story writer, she holds a Ph.D in English and has adapted Virginia Woolf’s diaries for the staged performance at the International Virginia Woolf Conference. She also has adapted the Kent Haruf novel, The Tie That Binds, for performance by The Chalk Horse Theatre in Salida. As director of the Haruf production, she won the 2016 Best Director Award from the Colorado Community Theatre Association. Her stories have appeared in various literary journals, including Open Road Windows 2006, which won the Colorado Book Award for Short Story Anthology.

Ramazan Yigit is an immigrant from eastern Turkey from a Kurdish family. He studied Political Science at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. He moved to the US in 2016 to seek asylum, attended Portland Comunity College in Washington State to study English, and became involved with the circus. In 2018, Rama came to Colorado to work with the Salida Circus. His aspiration is to study writing.