Local Impact, Institutional News

Writers Reading Series Brings Acclaimed Authors to Bennington

Bennington Writing Seminars will offer an evening reading series during the MFA program's winter residency, Thursday, January 4 through Friday, January 12. The series brings critically acclaimed, award-winning authors and faculty for readings. All events are free and open to the public.


Thursday, January 4
Jenny Boully and Jill Mccorkle
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Jenny Boully's new book, Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in Spring 2018. She is the author of five previous books. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry, The Next American Essay, Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, and other places.

Jill McCorkle is the author of ten books--four story collections and six novels--five of which have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. Her latest novel, Life After Life was published in the spring of 2013. She is the winner of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature.  


Friday, January 5
Major Jackson and Claire Vaye Watkins
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry: Roll Deep (2015, Norton), Holding Company (2010: Norton); Hoops (2006: Norton); and Leaving Saturn (2002: University of Georgia Press). He is the editor of Countee Cullen: Collected Poems (2013: Library of America).  He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers' Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. She has received fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, and was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” and Granta's "Best Young American Novelists."


Saturday, January 6
David Gates and Carmen Giménez Smith
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

David Gates is the author of the novels Jernigan (Knopf, 1991) and Preston Falls (Knopf, 1998), and two collections of stories, The Wonders of the Visible World (Knopf, 1999) and A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me (Knopf, 2015).  Gates’s fiction, articles, and reviews have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Tin House, Granta, The Oxford American, The Journal of Country Music, and frequently in Newsweek, where he was a longtime writer and editor. He’s received a Guggenheim fellowship, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir and six poetry collections, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. She was awarded an American Book Award and the Juniper Prize for Poetry. She co-edited Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing, an anthology of contemporary Latinx writing (Counterpath Press, 2014), serves on the planning committee for Canto Mundo and is publisher of Noemi Press. Cruel Futures, her next collection will be a volume in the City Lights Spotlight Series in 2018. Be Recorder is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019.


Sunday, January 7
Douglas Bauer and Deirdre McNamer
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Douglas Bauer’s novels are The Book of Famous Iowans; The Very Air; and Dexterity. His nonfiction includes: Prairie City, Iowa; The Stuff of Fiction; and What Happens Next?: Matters of Life and Death, which won the 2014 PEN/New England Book Award in Nonfiction. He has received fellowships in both fiction and creative nonfiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and has taught at Bennington since 2005.

Deirdre McNamer is the author of four novels: Rima in the Weeds (HarperCollins, 1991), One Sweet Quarrel (HarperCollins, 1994), My Russian (Houghton Mifflin, 1999), and Red Rover (Viking, 2007), which was named to the Best Books of 2007 lists of Artforum, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and won the Montana Book Award. She received a 2015 Artist’s Innovation Award from the Montana Arts Council, chaired the fiction panel of the National Book Awards in 2011, and was a judge for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner award.


Monday, January 8
Stuart Nadler and Monica Youn
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Stuart Nadler is the author of two novels including Wise Men (Little, Brown), which was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, and has been translated into five languages. His story collection, The Book of Life (Little, Brown), was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize. His recent novel, The Inseparables (Little, Brown) was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus. Nadler was a recipient of the 5 Under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation.

Monica Youn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Blackacre (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Open Book Award, and was longlisted for the National Book Award, as well as being named one of the best poetry collections of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post and BuzzFeed.


Wednesday, January 10
Alice Mattison and Clifford Thompson
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Alice Mattison’s most recent book is The Kite and the String: How to Write with Spontaneity and Control—and Live to Tell the Tale, and her novel, Conscience, was published by Pegasus Books in August. Several of her previous novels and story collections have been New York Times Notable Books or Editors’ Choices, and her story collection won the Connecticut Book Award for Fiction. Mattison’s stories, poems, and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere, and have been reprinted in The Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories, and PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories.

Clifford Thompson received a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction in 2013 for Love for Sale and Other Essays, published by Autumn House Press, which has also published his memoir, Twin of Blackness (2015). His essays on books, film, jazz, and American identity have appeared in publications including The Village Voice, The Threepenny Review, The Iowa Review, Commonweal, Film Quarterly, Cineaste, Oxford American, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Black Issues Book Review. He is the author of a novel, Signifying Nothing.


Thursday, January 11
Wayne Koestenbaum and Lynne Sharon Schwartz
7:30 p.m. (note later start time), Tishman Lecture Hall

Wayne Koestenbaum has published 18 books of poetry, criticism, and fiction, including Notes on Glaze, The Pink Trance Notebooks, My 1980s & Other Essays, Hotel Theory, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Andy Warhol, Humiliation, Jackie Under My Skin, and The Queen’s Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist).  His book of poems, Camp Marmalade, is forthcoming in March.  He has had solo exhibitions of his paintings at White Columns (New York), 356 Mission (L.A.), and the University of Kentucky Art Museum. He is a Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and French at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

Lynne Sharon Schwartz is the author of 25 books, including novels, short-story collections, nonfiction, poetry, and translations. She recently edited Crossing Borders, an anthology of stories and essays about translation.  Other recent books are the poetry collection, No Way Out But Through; the essay collection, This Is Where We Came In; and the novel Two-Part Inventions. Her first novel, Rough Strife, was nominated for a National Book Award and the PEN/Hemingway First Novel Award. Schwartz has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Foundation for the Arts.


Friday, January 12
Alexander Chee and Allan Gurganus
7:00 pm, Tishman Lecture Hall

Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels Edinburgh and Queen of the Night. His essay collection, How to Write An Autobiographical Novel, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared most recently in The New York Times Magazine, T, Tin House, and Best American Essays 2016, among others.

Allan Gurganus is the author of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy), White People (Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Pen-Faulkner Finalist), Plays Well with Others, The Practical Heart: Four Novellas (Lambda Literary Award) and most recently Local Souls and Decoy. His stories have won the National Magazine Prize and have been honored in Best American Stories, The O’Henry Prize Collection and The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and his essays and editorials appear in the New York Times and The New York Review of Books. Gurganus was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novel-in-progress, slated for 2019, is South of God: The Erotic History of a Country Baptist Church.