past event

Community Read Author Talk & Reception with Literary Prize Winner Jamil Jan Kochai

Join us for a conversation and reception with 2023 Aspen Words Literary Prize winner, Jamil Jan Kochai taking place in the Pitkin County Library’s Dunaway Room on Tuesday, July 25. The conversation will be moderated by Aspen Public Radio’s Executive Director, Breeze Richardson. A wine and charcuterie reception will follow.

At the reception, charcuterie and dips from Meat and Cheese, vegetable platters as well as treats from Paradise Bakerywill available. Wine and beer will also be offered to guests over 21 years of age.

This event is free and open to all, registration is requested.

DOORS: Open at 5:30 pm

EVENT: Conversation 6:00-7:00 pm; reception 7:00-7:45 pm

SEATING: is general admission and available on a first come, first served basis.


Jamil Jan Kochai is the author of “99 Nights in Logar” a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His short story collection, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories”was published in July 2022. He was born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. His essays have been published at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Kochai was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded the Henfield Prize for Fiction. Currently, he is a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.


Jamil Jan Kochai has written a stylistically audacious collection about Afghans, Afghan Americans and the surreal, violent aftershocks of state violence. In 12 masterful stories, Kochai manages both an indictment and de-centering of the West’s decades-long campaign of violence through which countless Afghans have suffered. There is no clean-cut prescriptivism here: these stories of lives lost and regained in the shadow of the war on terror years are as impossible to categorize as they are wondrous to read.” – 2023 Literary Prize Jury



Breeze Richardson is the executive director of Aspen Public Radio. Richardson is highly-respected in public media for her strategic planning and communications background, as well as her passion for telling stories and producing community-focused programming. Most recently, Richardson worked as director of marketing and communications at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, where she oversaw the institution’s brand and managed the overall communications strategy of the organization. She also has extensive experience in government and higher education, working with the Kansas Board of Regents in Topeka, Kansas for four years as a public information officer.

As director of strategic partnerships at WBEZ 91.5 FM in Chicago, Richardson fostered collaborative relationships with more than 70 cultural institutions and community organizations across the Chicagoland region. Additionally, she ran the Off-Air Event Series, where she produced over 45 live events for nearly 30,000 participants during a four-year period. Richardson began her career with WBEZ as a producer with the long-running daily international affairs program, Worldview, and then remained at the station to produce for the nationally-recognized radio program, StoryCorps. She was also responsible for creating Chicago Amplified, a rich audio archive of public programming presented by partnering organizations throughout the region, and producing a diverse library of audio postcards that captured the unique sounds of daily life in the Windy City.

Richardson received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, as well as bachelor’s degrees in economics and American Studies from The University of Kansas. She has volunteered as a producer for the Young Chicago Authors’ annual teen poetry slam, Louder Than A Bomb, and with the national League of Young Voters. She is also an avid contemporary quilter.

Event information
Tue Jul 25, 2023
6:00pm - 7:45pm MDT
Pitkin County Library
120 N Mill St
Aspen, CO