Acclaimed Writers to Headline Graduate Reading Series

Jun 04, 2009

Critically acclaimed, award-winning authors and faculty of the Bennington College Writing Seminars will offer an evening reading series during the MFA program's summer residency beginning on Thursday, June 11, and ending on Friday, June 19.

All readings are free and open to the public, and will take place at 7:00 pm (with the exception of the reading on Thursday, June 18, which will take place at 7:30 pm) in the College's Deane Carriage Barn.

Thursday, June 11

Amy Gerstler's books and chapbooks of poems include Ghost Girl, Medicine, Crown of Weeds, Nerve Storm, Bitter Angel, White Marriage & Recovery, and Yonder. Bitter Angel was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1991, and Crown of Weeds received the California Book Award in 1998. Her chapbooks of fiction are Primitive Man and Martine's Mouth. She received a Durfee Artist Award in 2003. Ms. Gerstler holds an MFA from Bennington College.

Amy Hempel's most recent book, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and one of the New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2006. She has published four other collections of stories: The Dog of the Marriage, Tumble Home, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, and Reasons to Live. Ms. Hempel received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000 and the PEN/Malamud Award in 2007. She is currently a contributing editor to Bomb magazine.

Friday, June 12

Timothy Liu's books of poems include Bending the Mind Around the Dream's Blown Fuse; Polytheogamy; For Dust Thou Art; Of Thee I Sing, named a 2004 Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly; Hard Evidence; Say Goodnight; Burnt Offerings; and Vox Angelica, winner of the 1992 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He holds a BA from Brigham Young University and an MA from the University of Houston and currently teaches at William Paterson University.

Brian Morton is the author of the novels Breakable You, The Dylanist, A Window Across the River, and Starting Out in the Evening, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and was made into a motion picture. Mr. Morton has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Foundation Award. He teaches at New York University and Sarah Lawrence College, where he also directs the graduate program in fiction.

Saturday, June 13

April Bernard is a poet, novelist, and essayist. Romanticism, her new book of poems, will be published this month. Her pre­vious books of poems are Blackbird Bye Bye, winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets; Psalms; and Swan Electric. Ms. Bernard was educated at Harvard and has taught at Barnard, Yale, Columbia, Amherst, and Bennington. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry and the Stover Memorial Prize in Poetry.

Bret Anthony Johnston is the editor of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer and the author of Corpus Christi: Stories. His many honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a National Book Award for writers under 35. His fiction and essays have been published in The Paris Review, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and Tin House. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is the director of creative writing at Harvard University.

Sunday, June 14

Sheila Kohler's most recent book is the historical novel, Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness. Her new novel, Becoming Jane Eyre, will be published in January 2010. Ms. Kohler is the author of five other novels and three books of short stories. She has received the O. Henry Award, the Open Voice Prize, the Smart Family Foundation Prize, and the Willa Cather Prize. She currently teaches at Princeton.

Ed Ochester's books of poetry include Unreconstructed: Poems Selected & New, The Republic of Lies, The Land of Cockaigne, Changing the Name to Ochester, Miracle Mile, and Dancing on the Edges of Knives. Mr. Ochester has received fellowships in poetry from the NEA and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Educated at Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Ochester has taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Pittsburgh.

Monday, June 15

Michael Burkard's books of poems include Envelope of Night, Selected and Uncollected Poems 1966­1990, Unsleeping, Pennsylvania Collection Agency, Entire Dilemma, My Secret Boat: A Notebook of Prose and Poems, and In a White Light. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer's Award, and a fellowship in poetry from the NEA. He holds a BA from Hobart College and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He currently teaches at Syracuse University.

David Shields's most recent book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, was a New York Times bestseller. His new book, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, is forthcoming in January 2010. Mr. Shields is the author of eight previous books and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He currently teaches at the University of Washington.

Wednesday, June 17

Susan Cheever's newest book is Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction. Her previous book, American Bloomsbury was on The Boston Globe bestseller list for three months. Ms. Cheever's work has been nominated for a National Book Circle Award and won The Boston Globe Winship Medal. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the Authors Guild Council, and a director of the Yaddo Corporation. Ms. Cheever holds a BA from Brown and has taught at Yale, Hunter College, and elsewhere.

Donald Hall is a writer, anthologist, and editor. He has published numerous books of poems and prose and last September, on his eightieth birthday, he published a memoir, Unpacking the Boxes. He has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for The One Day, and he has received Guggenheim Fellowships, the Lamont Prize, and many other awards for his work. In June 2006, Hall was appointed the Library of Congress's fourteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

Thursday, June 18,  7:30 pm (note later start time)

Bernard Cooper's books of memoir are The Bill from My Father and Truth Serum. Maps to Anywhere, a book of essays, was published in 1991. Mr. Cooper has also published a novel and a book of short stories. He has received writing fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation as well as the PEN/Hemmingway Award and an O. Henry Award. He holds a BA and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.

Dinah Lenney is the author of Bigger than Life: A Murder, a Memoir. She has taught acting at various institutions and cur­rently teaches nonfiction at the University of Southern California and the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington. A working actor, she's played in film, theatre, and primetime television. She holds a BA in American Studies from Yale, a certificate of acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School, and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Friday, June 19

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica and the story collections Don't Cry, Bad Behavior, and Because They Wanted To. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Ms. Gaitskill is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction and her novel Veronica was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Critic's Circle Award.

Nicholas Montemarano is the author of the short story collection If the Sky Falls and the novel A Fine Place. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Zoetrope: All­Story, AGNI, and The Pushcart Prize (2003), among others. He has received fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Mr. Montemarano holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently teaches at Franklin & Marshall College.

For more information, contact 802­-440-­4452, or e-mail