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September 2, 2004



Paula Fox

Paula Fox

An appearance by Newbery Medalist Paula Fox on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Thomas Great Hall opens an exciting program of readings by some of America's most gifted writers. The College's yearlong Creative Writing Program Reading Series will feature award-winning novelists, fiction writers, poets and essayists.

The 1984 recipient of both the Newbery Medal and Hans Christian Andersen Award for her historical children's novel, The Slave Dancer, Paula Fox made her writing debut in 1967 with Poor George, a story about a New York City teacher who takes in a local adolescent after the boy attempts to break into his home. 

Fox's second novel, Desperate Characters, was adapted into a film starring Shirley MacLaine in 1971. Fox has written six novels for adults and several short stories, but she is best known for more than two dozen children's books, including Maurice's Room and The One-Eyed Cat.

In her memoir Borrowed Finery, originally excerpted in the New Yorker and published in 2001, Fox describes her experiences growing up in a world of hardship and neglect — themes she includes in many of her children's novels.

Fox's reading is sponsored by the Lucy Martin Donnelly Women Writers Series Fund.

Free and open to the public, this year's Creative Writing Program Reading Series also features:

  • Mary Karr, Thursday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

Described by former Poet Laureate Robert Hass as "one of the best-loved, most widely read works of literary nonfiction in this decade," Mary Karr's memoir of her East Texas childhood remained at the top of The New York Times bestseller list for more than a year. The Liars' Club also was selected for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for best first nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was given the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for best nonfiction.

The Liars' Club's sequel, Cherry, published in 2000, was excerpted in the New Yorker, and was chosen as a "Best Book of 2000" by The New York Times. Karr's collections of poems and essays, including The Devil's Tour and Abacus, won Pushcart Prizes, and selections appeared in such magazines as the New Yorker, The Atlantic and Parnassus.

Karr's reading is sponsored by the Lucy Martin Donnelly Women Writers Series Fund.

  • Charles Wright, Thursday, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

One of this country's greatest lyric poets, Charles Wright was awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection Black Zodiac, which also won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critic's Circle Prize and the Ambassador Book Award.

His other collections of poetry include Chickamauga, which was awarded the 1996 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The World of Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990; Country Music: Selected Early Poems, which won the National Book Award in 1983; and his translation of Eugenio Montale's The Storm and Other Poems, which won the PEN Translation Prize. His most recent book is Buffalo Yoga.

A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters since 1995, Wright currently holds the Souder Family Professorship of English at the University of Virginia.

Wright's reading is sponsored by the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry and the Whitehill-Linn Fund.

  • Edward P. Jones, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

Edward Jones, whose work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Paris Review, Essence and Ploughshares, was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel The Known World, the story of a slave who purchases his freedom and goes on to become a slaveholder.

Twice he was named a National Book Award finalist: for his first book, Lost in the City, and for The Known World. A recipient of the PEN-Hemingway Award, Jones has taught fiction at Princeton University, George Mason University and the University of Maryland.

Jones' reading is sponsored by the Whitehill-Linn Fund.

  • Richard Howard, Thursday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

The author of 11 books of poetry, Richard Howard was awarded the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Untitled Subjects, his third book of poetry, in which he presents the voices of well-known and marginal figures of the recent past. 

A member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters since 1983, Howard is a past president of PEN American Center, a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a former poet laureate of New York State.

Howard is also considered an authoritative translator of modern French literature. He has translated more than 150 works from French, including Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, for which he received the 1983 American Book Award for translation.

His volumes Inner Voices: Selected Poems, 1963-2003 and Paper Trail: Selected Prose, 1965-2003 will be published in the fall of 2004.

Howard's reading is sponsored by the Whitehill-Linn Fund and the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry.

  • Charles Baxter, Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

Described by the Chicago Tribune as "one of our most gifted writers," novelist Charles Baxter is the author of novels including The Feast of Love, for which he was a National Book Award finalist, and Saul and Patsy. He also has written three collections of poetry, a collection of essays on fiction and four story collections, including Harmony of the World, Believers and Through the Safety Net.

Baxter, who holds the Edelstein-Keller Professorship of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota, edited the Best New American Voices 2001 and The Business of Memory in 1999 and co-edited Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life.

Baxter's reading is sponsored by the Whitehill-Linn Fund.

  • Antonya Nelson, Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

A recipient of the prestigious Rea Award for Short Fiction in 2003, Antonya Nelson is the author of four short-story collections (The Expendables, In the Land of Men, Family Terrorists and Female Trouble) and has written three novels, Living to Tell, Talking in Bed and Nobody's Girl.

The Expendables won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction in 1990, and Talking in Bed received the 1996 Heartland Award in fiction. 

Her work also has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire and Harpers, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories, the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She shares the Cullen Foundation chair in creative writing at the University of Houston with her husband, novelist Robert Boswell.

Nelson's reading is sponsored by the Lucy Martin Donnelly Women Writers Series Fund.

  • Adrienne Rich, Thursday, April 21, 7:30 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

Considered to be among the most influential and eloquent of poets and theorists to address sexuality, race, language and power, Adrienne Rich won the prestigious Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1951 for her first book, A Change of World. Since then she has written more than 15 volumes of poetry, including Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991-95, Midnight Salvage, Fox and The School Among the Ruins.

Rich's poetry has been honored with the first Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Brandeis Creative Arts Medal, the William Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement and the National Poetry Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Art of Poetry. In 1974 her work Diving into the Wreck was presented a National Book Award, which she accepted jointly with Alice Walker and Audre Lorde.

Rich's reading is made possible through a major grant from the Heinz Family Philanthropies. Other sponsors include the Marianne Moore Fund for the Study of Poetry, the Lucy Martin Donnelly Women Writers Series Fund and the 1902 Fund.

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