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University English department to host reading to benefit hunger in community

The New Mexico State University Department of English at the College of Arts and Sciences will host the 14th annual Casa de Peregrinos Hunger Benefit Reading at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Downtown Mall.


Doors will open at 5 p.m. for a silent auction with items for bid from local artisans and businesses. Nationally acclaimed authors Roberto Tejada and Stacey D'Erasmo will present readings from their work at 7:30 p.m. Tejada is a poet and art historian and in addition to being a published author is the founder and co-editor of Mandorla: New Writing of the Americas, a yearly journal of literature and translation, now in its 11th issue. D'Erasmo has received awards for her published work including a New York Times Notable Book of the Year award and Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Newsday.

This event is held every fall semester and is organized by La Sociedad Para las Artes - a division of the NMSU English department. The organization set their donation goal at $8,000 this year and hopes to meet if not exceed this amount to benefit Casa de Peregrinos, a local charity that offers meals and other services, including assistance with medical and family issues.

"The English and creative writing program have been putting this on as a national event and often Las Cruces is a top earner in the country. I've always been impressed by our community's response to this fundraiser," said Connie Voisine, professor of English at NMSU and an event coordinator.

La Sociedad is an organization of creative writing graduate students that promotes the arts at NMSU and in Las Cruces. The group seeks assistance from local businesses and organizations to help with ticket sales, donation of silent auction items or to contribute monetary donations. To date, La Sociedad has raised more than $60,000 through this benefit.

"Now, in this time of economic crisis, help is needed more than ever," Voisine said. Tickets are $12 per individual and cost includes admission to the silent auction, reading and post-reading reception with cash bar at The Rainforest at the Best Western Mission Inn, 1765 S. Main St.

About 300 people are expected to attend the reading and reception. Contact Voisine at (575) 646-2027 for more information or to learn how to make a donation. Proceeds from this event will benefit Casa de Peregrinos.