Creative Writing Faculty
Fredrick Barton is an award‑winning writer and critic. He holds a B.A. from Valparaiso University and did graduate work under a Danforth Fellowship, taking degrees from UCLA and the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. A Professor of English, former Dean of the College Liberal Arts and former Provost of the University, he is Professor of English and teaches graduate classes in fiction writing.
A winner of the Louisiana Division of the Arts Literature Prize, Mr. Barton is author of the novels The El Cholo Feeling Passes, Courting Pandemonium, and With Extreme Prejudice. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and in the anthologies Something in Common and Above Ground. His novel A House Divided won William Faulkner Prize in fiction.
Saturday Review said of The El Cholo Feeling Passes, "It's been called a kind of Fear of Flying for men but is more like a Chill without the posing and contrivance. In fact, it's not like anything except itself: it feels right, it rings true." The Los Angeles Times, wrote, "Page by page it's a winner, a great, wide, youthful swoop at reality that compares to visions of James Jones, Joseph Heller, Philip Roth. The El Cholo Feeling Passes is ‑ and very beautiful."
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution hailed Mr. Barton's comic second novel, Courting Pandemonium, for its "stunning ending," and USA Today praised the whole as "a farce of the highest order." United Press International exclaimed, "Fredrick Barton should net fame and fortune with this irreverent and witty slam dunk novel." And Library Journal said, "Barton demonstrates once again his skill at depicting our crazy world."
Robert Olen Butler called With Extreme Prejudice "rich and compelling" while Pat Conroy praised it as "first rate and brilliantly written." Shirley Ann Grau said the "novel captures New Orleans like a Billie Holiday blues song. It has passion and beauty and a haunting sense of irrevocable loss." And Richard Ford described the book as "a smart novel of city life‑‑any city‑‑and as such is extremely savvy and thoughtful about America at large." Publisher's Weekly said, "this is a book that supplies pleasure on a number of levels," while Book Page said: "With Extreme Prejudice deserves your attention because of its stunning intelligence." The New York Daily News praised the book as "terrific in every sense." The Cleveland Plain Dealer said: "It's a wonderful book." And the Los Angeles Times recommended the novel as "a superior, savvy tangle of greed, graft and sudden violence with a pervasive subtext of the struggle between unconscious bias and better instincts."
Richard Ford compared A House Divided to All the King's Men and praised its "uncommon intelligence, compassion and insight." Robert Olen Butler called A House Divided "an important book" and hailed it for illuminating the "present condition of the American soul." Elizabeth Cox remarked that Mr. Barton's fourth novel "is visually beautiful, a work of imagination and story‑telling that is long overdue." Carol Dawson hailed the book for its "power and authority" and its "tight, lyrical prose."
In addition to his accomplishments as a fiction writer, Mr. Barton has achieved success in other narrative media as well. His jazz opera Ash Wednesday with composer Jay Weigel was the keynote presentation of the Words and Music Festival in 1998. His short film, Early Warning, played film festivals in 2001. His film commentary appears weekly on WYES‑TV and regularly in The Cresset, a review of literature, arts and public affairs. His "Balcony Seats" film column in the newsweekly Gambit has won The Press Club of New Orleans' annual criticism prize on eleven occasions. Mr. Barton has also won the Alex Waller Memorial Award, the New Orleans Press Club's highest award for print journalism, and the Stephen T. Victory Award, the Louisiana Bar Journal's annual prize for feature writing.
Randolph Bates teaches nonfiction writing at the University of New Orleans. His book Rings: On the Life and Family of a Southern Fighter was published to starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and the Library Journal and described as follows by syndicated reviewer Richard Eder in the Los Angeles Times Book Review:
" . . . extraordinary book. The effort was made out of a conviction that understanding without involvement is not only incomplete, but can easily become- a white man writing about a black family- exploitation. His book is not a tour but a journey; its end as uncertain as its departure; its passage supremely moving and revealing. . . . The revelations come bit by bit . . . as the story accumulates power without sacrificing complexity. . . . There is much, much more. Rings is a book of quixotic fidelity. It has quixotic wackiness, as well; but, as in the book the adjective comes from, it is wackiness in the service of revelation. It does as much as it possibly can and acknowledges its limits. . . . and in the shortfall lies the book's astonishing achievement. It fails magnificently in suggesting a solution for the story of Collis and his family; it leaves us with an open wound. We will not die from it nor even, probably, amend our lives."
Bates has received creative writing fellowships
from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Arts Council
and has taught in the expository writing program at Harvard University.
His work has appeared in
Amanda Boyden is the author of two novels, Pretty Little Dirty (Vintage/Random House, 2006) and Babylon Rolling (Pantheon/Random House.) Set in New Orleans, Babylon Rolling was released in August, 2008 to generous critical acclaim, including numerous end-of-the-year book list picks. People magazine gave it four out of four stars, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said of Babylon Rolling, “[Pretty Little Dirty] hinted at the author’s literary promise. With Babylon Rolling, that promise is fulfilled… a heartwreck of a novel, a luminous swan song for a time and a place.” She embarked on a reading, panel, and festival tour from August through mid-November in such varied places as Vancouver, Jackson, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Seattle, Toronto, Calgary, Banff, Austin, and beyond, and made the bestseller list in Canada. In 2010, Babylon Rolling will be published in French by Paris’ Albin Michel. Amanda has contributed nonfiction to Macleans magazine, the forthcoming anthology New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost, and is contracted to co-write two screenplays with her husband, Joseph Boyden. Her short fiction has appeared in the collection 2033: Future of Misbehavior, the Globe and Mail, the Mid-American Review, Sonora Review, Gallery magazine, and others. Both at home and in the low-residency program’s summer residency in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, she continues to enjoy teaching graduate fiction writing as a writer-in-residence. Amanda is at work on her third novel.
Writer in Residence
Three Day Road has been translated, to date, into 12 languages. Isabelle Allende chose the novel for The Today Show’s book club, and Barnes & Noble selected it for their Discover Great New Writers Program. As an international bestseller and a continuing bestseller in Canada, the novel has won The Rogers Writers Trust Prize; McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award; Canadian Authors Association Book of the Year Award; The Libris Book of the Year Award; Amazon First Novel Award; the Festival America Readers’ Award, Vincennes, Paris; the Ontario Library Association Book of the Year, and France’s Prix Literaire. Three Day Road was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award and nominated by five libraries for the Dublin IMPAC Award long list.
Through Black Spruce has been on the Canadian bestseller list since it’s debut on September 13, 2008. It recently won Canada’s most prestigious literary prize, the ScotiaBank Giller on November 11, 2008 . Through Black Spruce is slated for international publication in March, 2009.
He is a contributing writer for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine and has published and continues to publish fiction and nonfiction in a variety of places, including Spirit Magazine, Black Warrior Review, Walrus, Driven, and Globe and Mail. His work has been anthologized in PEN International, Penguin Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories and elsewhere.
John Gery was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1953, and grew up in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He earned degrees from Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and Stanford University. His four published collections of poetry include Charlemagne: A Song of Gestures (Plumbers Ink, 1983), which received the Plumbers Ink Poetry Award; The Enemies of Leisure (Story Line, 1995), honored by Publishers Weekly as a "Best Book of 1995" and awarded a 1995-96 Critics Choice Award from the San Francisco Review of Books and Today's First Edition television series; American Ghost: Selected Poems (Raska Skola, 1999; Cross-Cultural, 1999), a bilingual English-Serbian collection translated by Biljana D. Obradovic, which received the European Award of the Circle Franz Kafka in Prague; and Davenport's Version (Portals Press, 2003), a book-length narrative poem about the Civil War in New Orleans. Gery's fifth volume of poetry, A Gallery of Ghosts, is forthcoming from Story Line Press. He has also published two chapbooks, The Burning of New Orleans (Amelia, 1988), winner of the Charles William Duke Long Poem Award, and Three Poems (LeStat, 1989).
Gery's other books include his major critical study, Nuclear Annihilation and Contemporary American Poetry: Ways of Nothingness (University Press of Florida, 1996), and For the House of Torkom (Cross-Cultural Communications, 1999), co-translated with Vahe Baladouni, a bilingual volume of the prose poems of Armenian poet Hmayyag Shems.
Gery's poetry, criticism, and reviews have appeared in journals throughout the country, including American Literature, CEA Critic, Chicago Review, Contemporary Literature, George Washington Review, Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Louisiana Literature, New Orleans Review, New Virginia Review, Notre Dame Review, Paris Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, South Central Review, Southwest Review, and Verse. His poems and prose have been translated into Serbian, Romanian, Chinese, Farsi, and Bengali. For his work, he has received, among other awards, a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Artist Fellowship from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, two Deep South Writers Poetry Awards, a Wesleyan University Summer Poetry Fellowship, and the Academy of American Poets Poetry Award. During Spring 2006, he is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota.
A Research Professor of English at the UNO, Gery regularly teaches Poetry Writing at all levels, Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Poetry as a Genre, American Women's Poetry, Caribbean Poetry, British Literature from the Romantics to the Present, American Literature, and Composition courses. Since 1990 he has also served as the founding Director of the Ezra Pound Center for Literature at Brunnenburg, Italy, and is a member of the Women's Studies faculty. He.has also taught at Stanford, San Jose State, and the University of Iowa, has twice been a Poet in Residence at Bucknell University, and has lectured and read his poetry at universities in Serbia, Turkey, Italy, China, and throughout the U.S.
Currently, he is compiling a collection of poetry, entitled Have at You Now!, and his critical projects involve American poetry at the turn of the twenty-first century, parody, and cultural identity. He is also writing a walking guide to Ezra Pound's 'Venice.
J. Stephen Hank
Professor Hank is the Director of the Film Program at the University of New Orleans where he teaches courses in film production, screenwriting and media aesthetics. He has written, produced and directed over two dozen films in the last 30 years. His films have been broadcast nationally and have won numerous national and international awards. He was the regional coordinator for the Motion Picture Academy's Nicholls Screenwriting Fellowship and has been a judge in numerous film competitions. He is a long-standing member of the University Film and Video Association, a past board member and Executive Vice President, and was its scholarship chair for over ten years. His articles on film theory and production have appeared in Wide Angle, Film Journal, Southern Quarterly, and the American Film Institute's Educational Journal.
Phil Karnell is the chair of the Film Theater and Communications Department at the University of New Orleans.
Photo depicts UNO Chancellor Gregory O'Brien and Professor, Director Phil Karnell with Playwright Rebecca Basham receiving National Award for Lot's Daughters at the Kennedy Center during the American College Theatre Festival.
Joanna Brent Leake
Joanna Leake was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La. She graduated magna cum laude from Vassar College and received a Master of Arts in the Humanities from the State University of New York in Buffalo. She is a Professor of English and served from l992-2001 and from 2003 to present as the Director of the Creative Writing Workshop, an M.F.A. program at the University of New Orleans. She is the New Orleans editor of Bayou, a literary magazine co-published with the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
Ms. Leake is the author of A Few Days in Weasel Creek. The screen adaptation of this novel was a C.B.S. movie-of-the-week. In addition, she has written screenplays under contract for Rainbow Productions, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers. Three of her manuscripts have been optioned for screen rights. Two textbooks, The Illustrated Guide to Writing and The Illustrated Guide to College Composition, co-authored with James Knudsen, have been published by Longman. Ms. Leake's short fiction has appeared in the Intro anthology, Cultural Vistas, Xavier Review, The Panhandler, Louisville Review and Apalachee Review. She has reviewed literature for the Los Angeles Times and her articles have appeared in Architectural Digest and Vignette. For ten years she reviewed films with Rick Barton on WWNO, the NPR affiliate in New Orleans. She is the past President of the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers, former associate editor of Short Story, current editor of Bayou and is the Director of the Times-Picayune Adult Literacy Project.
Joanna Leake lives in New Orleans with her husband, David, daughter Madeleine, and dog, Waylon.
Kay Murphy teaches poetry in the UNO Creative Writing Workshop, and is the author of two books, The Autopsy (Spoon River Poetry Press, 1985) and Belief Blues (Portals Press, 1999). In his introduction to Belief Blues, poet W.D. Snodgrass writes, "Maybe you don't really want to read these poems. Are you sure you want to know about the lives of those at the low end of the scale -- those that World War Two gave the free time to grow dissatisfied and hate-filled, left without a real body of beliefs to enfold them in a stable, protected society?" Murphy's latest project is a book of formal poems. Her poetry has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Spoon River Poetry Quarterly, College English, New Orleans Review, and has been anthologized in From a Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets. Murphy is also a poetry critic; her work appears regularly in Chelsea and other literary journals.
Director, playwright, drama teacher, designer and visual artist. He has directed more than 100 plays and musicals while also specializing in directing ensemble-generated original plays. Several of his own plays have performed in Boston (Boston Theater Marathon and BTW), New York (Summer Play Festival NYC) and Chicago (Stage Left Theatre). He is a 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant recipient in playwriting. His newest play, Pigcat, recently won the The Holland New Voices Award at the Great Plains Theater Conference.He is cofounder of Rouged Ape, a paratheatrical theater company working around the Boston area. He teaches drama and directs at Lexington High School, and also teaches playwriting for the University of New Orleans Low Residency Creative Writing Program. Last year, he collaborated with Amanda Palmer and the Lexington High School Drama students on a new play, With the Needle That Sings in Her Heart. The production received an overwhelming positive response from audiences, and was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Bogart’s visual art has been exhibited internationally, and most recently was part of the Decordova Museum’s exhibition, Big Bang! Abstract Painting for the 21st Century.
Steven Church earned his MFA in fiction from Colorado State University. His first book, The Guinness Book of Me: aMemoir of Record, was released in 2005 by Simon & Schuster. It was named a Colorado Book Award Winner and recentlyoptioned for television by Sonar Pictures. His essays and storieshavebeen published in Fourth Genre, The Pinch, The North American Review, Colorado Review, Ecotone, Avery, Post Road, and many others. He has been nominated 5 times for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches creative nonfiction in the MFA Program at Fresno State and is a founding editor of the new literary magazine, The Normal School. He taught for UNO in the Madrid Summer Seminars in 2007.
Jim Grimsley is a playwright and novelist who was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Jim's first novel Winter Birds was published by Algonquin Books in the United States in 1994. The novel won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Prix Charles Brisset, given by the French Academy of Physicians. The novel also received a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation as one of three finalists for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Jim's second novel, Dream Boy, was published by Algonquin in September, 1995, and won the 1996 Award for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Literature from the American Library Association; the novel was also one of five finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. Dream Boy was adapted for the stage by Eric Rosen, the play premiering at About Face Theatre in Chicago in 1996. The movie adaptation of Dream Boy premiered in 2008 at the Berlin Film Festival.
Jim’s third novel, My Drowning, was published in 1997 and for this book Jim was named Georgia Author of the Year. His fourth novel, Comfort & Joy was a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and his fifth novel, Boulevard, was published in April, 2002. Jim has written ten full-length and four one-act plays, including Mr. Universe, The Lizard of Tarsus, White People and The Existentialists. A collection of his plays, Mr. Universe and Other Plays was published by Algonquin in 1998, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist in drama. He has been playwright-in-residence at 7Stages Theatre of Atlanta since 1986 and has been playwright in residence at About Face Theatre of Chicago since May, 2000. In 1988 he was awarded the George Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Playwright for his play Mr. Universe. He was also awarded the first-ever Bryan Prize for Drama, presented by the Fellowship of Southern Writers for distinguished achievement in the field of playwriting, in 1993. He was a 1997 winner of the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Award. Jim also won the first ever Saints and Sinners Mid Career Writers Award in the spring of 2007. He is a member of PEN, Dramatists Guild, Alternate ROOTS, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. In 2005, he won an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his work as a playwright and novelist.
Kristen Iversen is the author of the bestselling biography Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award, and a textbook, Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The Dickinson Review, The Bloomsbury Review, The Alaska Quarterly, The Flannery O'Connor Bulletin, and others, and her short story collection, The Shape of a Secret, was a finalist in the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her forthcoming memoir, Full Body Burden, chronicles her experiences with Rocky Flats, a government facility near Denver that secretly produced the heart of every nuclear bomb made in the "U.S. and resulted in radioactive contamination of nearby communities. Iversen has worked extensively with A & E Biography and The History Channel, and she has been featured on The Today Show, the Fox News Network, and National Public Radio. Iversen has taught at Naropa University and San Jose State University. She currently teaches at the University of Memphis, where she is also editor-in-chief of The Pinch. Iversen is slated to teach a nonfiction workshop at the Writing Workshops in San Miguel de Allende again in 2010.
Hank Lazer has published 15 books of poetry, most recently Portions (Lavender Ink, 2009), The New Spirit (Singing Horse, 2005), Elegies & Vacations (Salt, 2004), and Days (Lavender Ink, 2002). He edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press. Author of Opposing Poetries (Northwestern, criticism), his poems & essays appear in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review (which awarded him the Balch Prize in poetry). The New Spirit was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; Elegies & Vacations was nominated for the Forward Prize. In 2008, Lyric & Spirit: Selected Essays, 1996-2008 was published by Omnidawn. Lazer has given readings and talks throughout the US and in China, the Canary Islands, Spain, Canada, and France. Audio and video recordings – including readings from the new book Portions and an interview for Art International Radio – can be found at Lazer’s PennSound website: http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Lazer.html.
Lazer’s poems and essays have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Serbian, and Chinese. His poetry has been reviewed and written about by a wide range of poets and critics including Donald Revell, Rachel Back, Marjorie Perloff, Romana Huk, Norman Fischer, Elizabeth Robinson, and Cynthia Hogue. Over the past few years, Lazer has collaborated with jazz musicians Tom Wolfe and Chris Kozak on some jazz & poetry improvisations and with outsider artist Pak on a series of poem-paintings. He is currently working with animation artist Janeann Dill on a poetry-video installation project.
Hank Lazer is a Professor of English at the University of Alabama where he is also an administrator serving as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and the Executive Director of the Creative Campus initiative.
Dinty W. Moore is the author of numerous books, including Between Panic and Desire (University of Nebraska), The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still American Style(Algonquin, 1997) and The Emperor's Virtual Clothes (Algonquin, 1995). He has written literary nonfiction for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Utne Reader, Crazyhorse, and Salon, and fiction for The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, and The Iowa Review, among others. Moore is a 1992 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Fiction Writing, and edits the creative nonfiction journal, BREVITY.
A Pushcart Prize nominee and co-editor of The Normal School, Matt Roberts’ work has appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Many Mountains Moving, Matter, Isotope, Post Road, Ecotone, Ninth Letter, and on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Matt has worked in a sports massage therapy clinic, a nature store in the mall, sold lost shakers of salt and cheeseburger-shaped pillows for Jimmy Buffett in the French Quarter, and a back-breaking summer of trail crew in the foothills of Colorado. Today, Matt teaches at the University of New Orleans and spends his spare time staring at bushes and trees through a pair of binoculars in the hope of seeing the crayola-colored plumage of birds.
I've taught modern and contemporary poetry, American literature, and creative writing (including workshops and directed readings in publication issues and creative writing pedagogy) at UH since moving to Hawai`i in 1990. My critical works include A Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (University of Alabama Poetry and Poetics Series, 2005) and The Tribe of John: Ashbery and Contemporary Poetry, which I edited (Alabama, 1995), as well as essays on Denise Riley and adoption, Linh Dinh and disgust, Donald Rumsfeld and political poetry, and the poetries of Hawai`i, among others. Forthcoming is a collection co-edited with Annie Finch, Multiformalisms (Word Press, 2008). My poetry books are Aleatory Allegories and And Then Something Happened (both from Salt Press, 2000 and 2004) and Memory Cards & Adoption Papers (Potes & Poets, 2001). I edit Tinfish Press, which publishes an annual journal of experimental poetry from the Pacific, as well as a series of chapbooks and full-length volumes of poetry. In 1992 I was president of the Hawai`i Literary Arts Council. I taught two summers in Madrid for the University of New Orleans non-resident MFA program, and will teach in Summer, 2008 in Mexico for UNO. I've also coached soccer and baseball in Kane`ohe and Kahalu`u.
Peter Thompson teaches Romance languages and literatures at Roger Williams University. A book of his poems, Late Liveries, appeared in 2000, and another manuscript was a finalist in the National Poetry Series competition. Recent translating credits are Vamos a cantar (folksongs – Capital University Press), and Red Earth, poetry by Véronique Tadjo (E. Washington University Press). He has worked on issues of creolity and francophone writing, under various grants and awards, in Africa, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Thompson has also translated Léon-Paul Fargue’s Poëmes (2003), and is currently working on Nabile Farès’s Escuchando tu historia.
He is also the editor of Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation. He has also edited two anthologies of francophone literature, Littérature moderne du monde francophone, and Négritude et nouveaux mondes, which are widely used in schools and colleges.
Gale Walden has taught fiction and poetry at the University of Illinois, Columbia College, Harvard University, and Salem State College. She is the author of Same Blue Chevy, a collection of poetry published by Tia Chucha Press. She was the 2005 feature poet in Spoon River Quarterly. Her poetry has been anthologized in Red, White, and Blues, published by University of Iowa press, and Real Things, published by Indiana University Press. She has published short stories in Fiction, Prairie Schooner, The Antioch Review, Mid-America Review, and other literary magazines. She won the 2004 Boston Review Fiction contest and has completed a novel based on the winning story, “Men I Don’t Talk to Anymore.” She has published essays in the Crab Orchard Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Another Chicago Magazine, Salon and “Parenting and Professing” by Vanderbilt University Press, and is currently working on a book about a ghost town on Route 66.
James Winter is the Directing instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University as well as Founding member of InSideOut Productions. Prior to those positions, he taugfht Western Drama and directing productions at Hebei Normal University in the People's Republic of China. As a playwright, he took third prize in the Lamia Ink! International One-Page Play Contest in 2006; Lamia Ink! published three of his works. His full-length play, Dead Flowers received a staged reading at The Actors Studio (NY). Dead Flowers received three staged readings at The New School for Drama in New York in 2005. Winter served as Playwright in Residence for Titan Artistic Productions in New York in 1997, and his plays have been produced by theatres and universities in New York, New Orleans, Fort Worth and Cleveland.
As an actor, Winter has performed at The Hudson Guild, The Kennedy Center, 13th Street Repertory Theatre, Madison Square Garden, Cleveland Public Theatre and Dobama Theatre, among others.
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