POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Lydia Davis, the 2007-2008 Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College, will read from her highly praised new short story collection, "Varieties of Disturbance," and from other works, on Wednesday, February 6, at 5:30 P.M. in Sanders Classroom Building, Room 212. Acclaimed for their brevity and humor, many of Davis's stories defy traditional narrative conventions, borrowing the styles of philosophy and poetry. Her reading is free and open to the public.
Publisher's Weekly hailed the new Davis story collection "Varieties of Disturbance" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 2007) for "defying categorization and possessing a moving, austere elegance." Her six collections of short stories also include "The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories" (1976) and "Break It Down" (1986).
"Lydia Davis is a rare combination, an interesting modern writer, whose work seems to form a bridge between male modernists such as Samuel Beckett and female contemporaries such as Grace Paley," said David Means, an adjunct assistant professor of English. "Her work is clear, hard, and unforgiving, while at the same time touching upon deeply intimate aspects of life, often in ways that seem radically confessional."
Davis received the coveted John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur "genius" award for writing in October 2003, and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and translation.
Also well known for translating into English works by Marcel Proust, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, and other French writers, Davis has translated numerous avant-garde French novels, memoirs, and volumes of literary criticism. Her work on Proust's Swann's Way earned Davis the French-American Foundation Annual Translation Prize.