Denver will get dystopian in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s next book

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Courtesy of Alyson McClaran/MSU Denver
Kali Fajardo-Anstine the author of “Woman of Light,” is interviewed about her new book by Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner on June 7, 2022 at Tattered Cover Bookstore.

Award-winning Denver novelist Kali Fajardo-Anstine, whose books feature the Indigenous and Latino people of southern Colorado and Metro Denver, has given fans a preview of her next project.

“It’s sort of dystopian and set in Denver,” Fajardo-Anstine said, adding that she is “deep in the middle” of it.

Fajardo-Anstine is currently the 2022-2024 Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University. 

“My writing life is still filled with a lot of travel, but mostly I’m dedicating myself to being at the desk,” she said. “So if you don’t see me on the road so much, that’s because I’m writing another book for everybody.”

This past weekend, Fajardo-Anstine traveled to Pueblo. Her destination was not a bookstore or library, but a women’s prison. In an uncanny coincidence, the nonprofit Freedom Reads brought her to La Vista Correctional Facility, where one of the characters in her 2019 short story collection “Sabrina & Corina” had spent time.

Courtesy of Freedom Reads
Audience member asking a question at Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s reading at La Vista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colo. April 6, 2024.
Courtesy of Freedom Reads
Author Kali Fajardo-Anstine signing a book at La Vista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colo. April 6, 2024.

Fajardo-Anstine said about 100 incarcerated women attended her reading and talk. One of them asked her how it felt to read that particular short story, “Tomi,” at La Vista.

“And I said this feels like a truly full circle moment in my career. And then the whole gymnasium erupted in applause, as it really just felt so moving,” said Fajardo-Anstine.

Fajardo-Anstine encouraged the inmates, some of whom are writers themselves, to form reading and writing circles even while they are in custody.

“The world really needs to hear from these women,” she added.

Courtesy of Freedom Reads
Audience reading Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s book at La Vista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colo. April 6, 2024.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that Fajardo-Anstine is living in Texas. She is still in Colorado, but working for Texas State University.