On the night of April 18, The Mochila Review was honored to have New York Times-bestselling author Ellen Hopkins come speak at our campus, Missouri Western State University. Earlier this year, Ellen judged our Undergraduate MoRe Prize and she chose “Wake” by Reily William Cook (plus two honorable mentions: Jordan Carter’s “We do Shit to get High to Forget the Shit we did to get High” and Nels Folsien’s “Tunnelbeast”). These stories appear in our 2016 issue. We then asked her to come to our school to give a reading and book signing. What she gave us was a two-hour unapologetic glimpse into her real life. Three things really stood out to me from her presentation: the fact that her adopted father was born in 1883, the fact that she grew up near (and met) Elvis Presley, and the fact that her novel-in-verse Crank is heavily based on her life. She was so honest and genuine. From all of us at The Mochila Review, thank you, Ellen, for coming and charming us all. And even taking a picture with our current issue!!
We also wish to thank the following organizations who made the event possible: the Missouri Humanities Council with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the St. Joseph Public Library Board, and Missouri Western State University’s English and Modern Languages department, Prairie Lands Writing Project, School of Fine Arts, and Student Government Association.