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Professor celebrates release of first book

September  13, 2013

Join author Kelly Daniels, along with graphic artist Kelvin Mason and the local band Subatlantic, for local craft beer, music, reading and book-signing in celebration of Daniels’ first book, Cloudbreak, California: A Memoir, on Friday, Sept. 27, from 6-10 p.m. at the Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 E. 2nd St., Davenport). This event is open to the public.

This event will be sponsored by Front Street Brewery and the Augustana College Department of English. Barnes and Noble will be selling books at the event.

Cloudbreak, California: A Memoir, offers a catalog of real-life experiences. Daniels, an associate professor of English at Augustana, grew up on the road, living for stints with his parents in a Hawaiian commune; a waterless, powerless cabin in the desert; and in an old van outfitted with bunks. As an adult, he set off on his own, traveling extensively through Europe, Mexico and Central America. Along the way, he picked up odd jobs when he could find them—jobs such as production manager of a furniture factory in Guatemala and newspaper reporter in Mexico.

Writing the book was a journey in itself. “What I learned is that personal tragedy is about as uncommon as air. Whatever obstacles I’ve faced in life are nothing compared to what others have endured,” Daniels said. In order for the book to have value, he realized his own stories would have to be crafted with painstaking care.

“Daniels more or less raised himself, as the son of Christian cultists fallen on hard times in the California desert in the 1970s,” said Jaimy Gordon, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction. “He writes about those years of poverty and lost wandering with a nuanced objectivity that is wise as only very good writers can be wise.”

Dr. Daniels teaches creative writing at Augustana College. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Puerto del Sol, Cimarron Review, Third Coast, Sonora Review, South Dakota Review, Santa Clara Review, GSU Review, Orange Coast Review, Eyeshot and other journals. Among other awards, he recently won first prize in Creative Nonfiction at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference.

The cover of the book was created by Kelvin Mason, associate professor of art at Augustana.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833