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Three free lectures at Vassar in September feature influential literary critic, James Wood, poet Li-Young Lee, and novelist Mark Sarvas, September 2008

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—This September Vassar’s English Department will present three lectures of note, that are free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, September 16, at 5:00 pm, in the Blanche Brumback Spitzer Auditorium in Eleanor Butler Sanders Hall, one of the leading literary critics in the world, James Wood, will read from and discuss his new book, How Fiction Works.

Wood, is a staff writer at the New Yorker and professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard University. He was former chief literary critic of the Guardian in London and the New Republic.

Wood’s reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, New York Review of Books, News from the Republic Of Letters, and the London Review of Books.

He is the author of The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief (Modern Library, 2000), The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004); and the autobiographical novel, The Book Against God (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).

The annual Elizabeth Bishop Lecture on Tuesday, September 23, at 5:30 pm, in the Blanche Brumback Spitzer Auditorium in Eleanor Butler Sanders Hall, will be delivered by Li-Young Lee, author of four critically-acclaimed books of poetry, including Behind My Eyes, Book of My Nights, Rose, and The City in Which I Love You. Lee’s memoir, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance, received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Novelist Mark Sarvas will read from his recent work on Wednesday, September 24, at 5:30 pm in the Class of ’51 Reading Room in the Thompson Library.

Mark Sarvas's debut novel, Harry, Revised, was recently published by Bloomsbury and will appear in a dozen languages around the world. Los Angeles Magazine wrote of the novel, “Self-loathing was never so funny, and Sarvas’s depiction of his downward spiraling anti-hero is spot-on.”

Sarvas is the host of the acclaimed litblog, The Elegant Variation, which is a Forbes magazine “Best of the Web” pick and Guardian “Top 10 Literary Blog,” and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. His criticism has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere.

Other presentations this fall by the English Department will include a reading by poet Paige Ackerson-Kiely on Tuesday, October 7, at 5:30 pm, in the library’s Class of '51 Reading Room; and writer George Saunders will deliver the Gifford Lecture on Wednesday, October 29, at 6:00 pm in the Villard Room in Main Building. Details to be announced.

Calendar listings:

Tuesday, September 16, at 5:00 pm
Literary critic James Wood
“How Fiction Works”
Blanche Brumback Spitzer Auditorium, Eleanor Butler Sanders Hall,
Vassar College

Tuesday, September 23, at 5:30 pm
Poet Li-Young Lee
The Elizabeth Bishop Lecture
Blanche Brumback Spitzer Auditorium, Eleanor Butler Sanders Hall,
Vassar College

Wednesday, September 24, at 5:30 pm
Novelist Mark Sarvas
Class of ’51 Reading Room, Thompson Library

Tuesday, October 7, at 5:30 pm
Poet Paige Ackerson-Kiely
Class of ’51 Reading Room, Thompson Library

Wednesday, October 29, at 6:00 pm
Writer George Saunders
The Gifford Lecture
Villard Room, Main Building

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities, (845) 437–5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, September 3, 2008