As part of the workshop Quotes & Appropriation, Omaha Uninitiated features readings from the novella On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown presented alongside a selection of photographs, film, and music that inspired the prose. Through historical photographs of Omaha, Nebraska, and popular American film and music from the World War I era, the presentation investigates the celebration of certain identities (and degradation of others) in a time of rising nationalism and diaspora. It does this by illuminating both fictional and historical characters within the context of the presented media. This project is undertaken with the purpose of understanding the novella as a medley of primary historical sources, literary influences, and original prose, suggesting that a book is as much as about the process of its creation as its content. In addition to the readings and slideshow, DJ Darren Keen engages in a live cross-fertilization of music from the era that was important to the creation of the novella with contemporary songs, in particular music from the state of Nebraska in the past 15 years.
Theodore Wheeler, Omaha/United States — Literature, Solitude fellow 2013–2015
Theodore Wheeler is the author of the new novel Kings of Broken Things and Bad Faith, a collection of short fiction. A fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2014, he’s been published in Best New American Voices, New Stories from the Midwest, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, and Boulevard. He lives in Omaha. This excerpt from Kings of Broken Things originally appeared in slightly different form as “In Her Place on Capitol Ave, 1917” in Four Quarters Magazine.