Montana State University

Portland-based novelist and musician Willy Vlautin to speak March 29 at MSU

March 14, 2017 -- MSU News Service

Willy Vlautin, an award-winning novelist and lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon-based bands Richmond Fontaine and The Delines, will give a Letters and Science Distinguished Speakers Series talk at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, in room 101 Gaines Hall on the Montana State University campus. Photo courtesy of Willy Vlautin.

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Willy Vlautin, an award-winning novelist and lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon-based bands Richmond Fontaine and The Delines, will give a Letters and Science Distinguished Speakers Series talk at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, in room 101 Gaines Hall on the Montana State University campus.

Vlautin's lecture, "How a Song Becomes a Novel," is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

A native of Reno, Nevada, who now lives in Scappoose, Oregon, Vlautin has recorded nine studio albums and published four award-winning novels. In his talk, Vlautin will explore the intersection of songwriting and fiction writing, read excerpts from his novels, and play a few songs that inspired his novels.

In 1994 Vlautin founded and was the front man for the band Richmond Fontaine. The band produced 10 studio albums plus a handful of live recordings and EPs. Driven by Vlautin's dark, story-like songwriting, the band achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe. Vlautin's new band, The Delines, debuted featuring vocalist Amy Boone of The Damnations. Their album, “Colfax,” also has received rave reviews from across Europe and the U.S. The Delines sold out venues on their first U.K. tour and have subsequently had successful tours in Europe and Australia.

Vlautin has published four novels. "The Motel Life" was released in 2007 and was a New York Times editor's choice and notable book. The book was made into a motion picture starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff and Kris Kristofferson in 2013. His second novel, "Northline," was published in 2008, and his third novel, "Lean on Pete," was published in 2010. "Lean on Pete" won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, was short-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award and is currently being made into a motion picture starring Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny. His most recent novel, "The Free," was published in 2014 and won the Oregon People's Choice Award.

Vlautin's talk is sponsored by the MSU Department of English, with support from the Western Lands and Peoples Center and KGLT, and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

Gaines Hall is located near the northeast corner of Grant Street and South 11th Avenue, between the Black Box Theater and Romney Hall. Free parking is available for the lecture in the lots in the southeast and southwest corners of 11th and Grant after 6 p.m. Please do not park in reserved spaces, marked by gold signs.

For more information about this and other L&S Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, please visit www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/speakers/ or call (406) 994-4288.

Jody Sanford (406) 994-7791, jody.sanford@montana.edu