Stop the presses: MARY GAITSKILL is returning to campus. If, like me, you missed her at the Narrative Conference back in November, this is our chance to right our grievous wrong. Kim-Frank Fellow Sarah Chrystler ’13/GRAD writes in with the specifics:
Celebrated author Mary Gaitskill will read from her upcoming work on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. in Wesleyan University’s, Russell House, 350 High Street, Middletown, CT. Earlier that day, at 4:15 p.m., Mary Gaitskill will hold a Q&A session in Allbritton 311.
Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novel Veronica, a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her other books include Two Girls, Fat and Thin and the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To, and Don’t Cry. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Short Stories, and she has received a Guggenheim Fellowship from the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library.
For more information, please call 860.685.3448 or click here. For program information contact Anne Greene at agreene[at]wesleyan[dot]edu or 860.685.3604.
Date: Wednesday, April 23
Time of Q&A: 4:15 p.m.
Location of Q&A: Allbritton 311
Time of reading: 8:00 p.m.
Location of reading: Russell House, 350 High St.
In a world of pithy tweets and ephemeral snapchats, where six-second attention spans face a proliferation of media so vast it seems only to stimulate their hunger for information rather than satisfy it, what real chance does a story have at being heard? Last Thursday and Friday, a motley assortment of professors, health practitioners, and industry professionals descended upon the CFA for a conference entitled “Narrative in the Age of Distraction” to examine the value of narrative and explore its technologically imposed limits. Their input, by turns reassuring and unsettling, rearticulated that all-too-frustratingly-apparent paradox of our time: the story is dead, long live the story.
The conference, co-sponsored by The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice and Wesleyan’s College of Letters, Writing Programs, and Science in Society Program, was divided into two “tracks,” each focusing on the role of narrative in a different field. The first, “Healing Letters,” addressed the uses of narrative in medicine, followed by “Narrative in the Age of Twitter,” a series of discussions about the future of long-form storytelling in the cyber-free-for-all it must both complement and transcend. The premise of the conference was that narrative, whether functioning as art or healing, is a crucial determinant of how we perceive the world, and yet it is threatened by the very media that support it.