Tag Archives: writers

Volunteer at the Shasha Seminar on “The Novel”


Shapiro Creative Writing Center Director Amy Bloom ’76 wants your help:

Volunteers needed for the 2014 Shasha Conference for Basic Human Concerns on Saturday, April 5th.

We are in need of student volunteers to direct registrants and accompany speakers. Contact Senior Fellow Izzy Rode at irode[at]wesleyan[dot]edu for more information!

Website here.

A Slice with Julia Wertz

243623062_c41a0ecce6Graphic novelist Julia Werts will be hosting a Q&A at the Shapiro Center tomorrow! More from Izzy Rode ’14:

A comic book writer and artist, Julia Wertz is perhaps best known for
her Fart Party comic strips. She has published two graphic novels: The
Infinite Wait and Other Stories and Drinking at the Movies. Wertz has
been nominated for the Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent at the Lulu
Awards and the Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication. Wertz will be
joining us at the Shapiro Center for an informal Q+A. Soda and pizza
will be served!

Sponsored by the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Amy Bloom,
Kim-Frank Writer in Residence.

Date: April 25
Time: 5:00 PM
Place: Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, 167 High
Cost: 0000

Colum McCann Descends Upon Russell House, Signs Books With a Bic

Colum iz flexxin

Colum McCann was introduced as “one of the greatest living writers in the English language” under a golden chandelier last night at Russell House by Professor Amy Bloom.

He had delivered a Q & A earlier that day and was now here to read from his new Irish-American novel Transatlantic. Behind the podium, perching one loafer atop the other, McCann spun tales of Frederick Douglass’s journey to Ireland during the potato famine, of two RAF pilots who traverse the Atlantic in a plane made of metal bones and harsh winds, and of an old Irish woman cherishing her memories as her cottage is being repossessed. People shut their eyes.

McCann grew up in the suburbs of Dublin, next to the shopping marts and all that. His father wrote for a paper and Colum followed in his footsteps, earning money writing about soccer games and events around Dublin. When he was 17, he moved to America and now calls himself a New Yorker by virtue of his place on the Upper East Side. He has three kids, one of whom is a “cyclist,” Colum added, jesting at the standard-issue pudge that has formed about his waistline. His smile is gruff. His laugh sincere, from the corners of his eyes.

A mob formed with their newly purchased copies of Let the Great World Spin at the ready—a mixture of students, prim adults, and professors. The Red Stripe logo on my shirt stood out uncomfortably.

The first woman in line wore a matching purple dress and Coach wristlet. I could feel the glowing of her eyes as she watched him produce his pen. I could feel the words gathering in her head to form her first sentence, her first impression. Then, disaster struck.

Pyxis Call for Submissions: “Memory”

wordcloud_memory_finalClaire Seoin Choi ’13 is calling all writers and artists:

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” — Marcel Proust

What does it mean to remember, or to forget? In his chef d’oeuvre In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust questions how one remembers and accesses memory. Proust, however, is not alone in this exploration. Many other scholars have delved into the topic of memory and investigated its importance in social organization, historical construction, and personal and group narratives. This semester, Pyxis invites you to contribute your academic work on this theme. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

How do we express memory in literature, in visual form, in performance? How do the stories we tell ourselves–through narratives, myths, or collective memories–structure the world around us? How is memory constructed, recorded, represented, manipulated?

Travel as Treatment: Glenn Stowell, in China, in Verse

In late August of this year (wow—we were all so young back then, weren’t we?), I received a message from the other side of the planet. Glenn Stowell ’13, hockey goalie, poet, and FYI classmate extraordinaire, was asking for a small favor. A month later, I finally got around to it—but if I’d read the collection of poetry Stowell wrote in China over the summer, Travel as Treatment, closer to when he actually sent it to me, the turnaround would have been much faster. Stowell’s brief and accessible snapshots, each one anchored to a specific locale, spread over three weeks, use spaces to generate spaces; I’ve never been to China (nor heard of it!), but with the aid of a comfortable beer buzz I found myself filling in the gaps with images of soft rain, streetside vendors, and quiet isolation. From Stowell:

I was fortunate enough to have this project funded by the Olin Fellowship. I owe the donors and trustees of the fellowship a great deal of gratitude for their generosity and for their trust.

This final product is a short collection of pieces written in China. In the month of August I was working with a contemporary Chinese poet, Yan Jun on our final manuscript for his new English book. In May, I was lucky enough to be named the head translator and editor on the project. The book, You Jump to Another Dream, is available in late October from Vagabond Press (Sydney and Tokyo.)

Glenn’s pictured above working with the aforementioned Yan Jun in full grayscale glory. Travel as Treatment can be read/downloaded right here. (EDIT: G.S. asks that you try this if Google Docs isn’t working out for you.)

Elie Wiesel to Wes: “Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By.”

As previously reported on this blog and The Wesleyan Connection, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and acclaimed writer and speaker Elie Wiesel spoke to a packed Memorial Chapel yesterday evening. The lecture, titled “The Death Penalty and Human Dignity,” was simulcast in the CFA Hall, Beckham Hall, and the Goldsmith Family Cinema. Wiesel was introduced by Rabbi David Leipziger Teva and President Roth, who commented: “He goes on telling the story, he goes on teaching, he goes on writing. Because he sees the work is not yet accomplished.”

Wiesel spoke thoughtfully and powerfully—with grace and, not infrequently, surprising and sharp wit—on his opposition to the death penalty, his belief in “building an ethical society,” and the power of education.

He culled stories from the Old Testament, and from his own staggering life story as a Holocaust survivor. He mentioned his past visits to Wesleyan, over thirty years ago, and joked that he never expected to hear Hasidic stories from the president of a school called Wesleyan. He answered a select handful of questions from students—on his view towards the death penalty, on how to respond to Holocaust deniers when there are no living Holocaust survivors left, on how students can go about changing the world (answer: “Information must be transformed into knowledge, knowledge into sensitivity, and sensitivity into commitment”).

And he repeated, as a Holocaust survivor, a human rights activist, and a witness of mass human genocide and cruelty, his personal mantra and commandment, from Leviticus: “Thou shalt not stand idly by.”

Stephen H. Devoto, over at the Middletown Eye blog, offers an excellent write-up on the lecture, complete with further images of the Chapel and direct quotes from Wiesel’s speech. Thanks—again—to B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau for organizing this extraordinary opportunity.

(Image by Brian Stewart, via the Middletown Eye)

Sometimes We Walk Alone: Book Reading & Conversation

Submitted by Cara Tratner ’12:

This Thursday, Ankur Shah is coming to speak about his book “Sometimes We Walk Alone” which is the result of his journal entries and reflections from the 26 day pilgrimage he took in 2006 when he decided to walk in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi from Ahmedabad, Gujarat to the ocean at Dandi, a walk that Gandhi did in 1930 to protest the British tax on salt. Ankur brought nothing with him except a notebook and only asked humans for water.

“I wanted to see what was left of Gandhi’s ideas, footprints, culture in the Indian countryside, and took to walking in his footsteps as the most honest and direct means of understanding this great and complicated human.”

Date: Thursday, April 22
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Place: PAC 004

More background information here.

Broad Street Books speaker series

Broad Street Books has some visiting writers lined up to speak this week.

Writer Robert Anthony Sizemore will be at Broad Street Books on Wednesday night talk talk about and sign copies of his book For Douglas: A Final Word on the Korean War:

For Douglas: A Final Word on the Korean War by Robert Anthony Sizemore is a book about war. Ostensibly it’s about the Korean War. It is also a multi-layered work that delves deeper into some of the more psychological and spiritual occurrences of war. A question raised by the author is: Did the Korean War ever really end in terms of the existing conflicts between America and China and are there existing P.O.W.s from the Korean War, who would serve as a sounding board for China’s real intentions during the past fifty years? Robert Anthony Sizemore attempts to answer this question, as well as to provide an exploration of the full tapestry of war including the other major conflicts of the twentieth century, through the life of psychologist/professor Tony Daldo and his wife Julia.

Date: Wednesday, October 21
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Place: Broad Street Books

On Thursday, Merrick Alpert will speak and sign copies of his new book “Morning Sun”:

Morning Sun is the true story of Merrick Alpert’s journey across America to track down the father who abandoned him and his siblings 30 years earlier. This poignant and often-funny memoir chronicles Alpert’s rise from near poverty in rural Connecticut and his successful pursuit of the American dream. A colorful firsthand account, Morning Sun is the story of not just one man but of all who have made peace with their upbringings in single-parent homes.

Merrick Alpert is a native of Colchester, Connecticut. He has served as an attorney, an advance staffer for Vice President Al Gore, a governor’s advisor, a United States peacekeeper n Bosnia, and a business owner. Merrick Alpert lives with his wife and three children in Mystic, Connecticut.

Date: Thursday,  Oct. 22
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Place: Broad Street Books

Michael Ondaatje at Memorial Chapel

Come to the Russell House Series‘ biggest event this semester, a reading and book-signing by Booker Prize-winning novelist Michael Ondaatje:

and Annie Sonnenblick Lecturer

MICHAEL ONDAATJE is winner of the British Commonwealth’s highest literary award, the Booker Prize, and he is regarded as one of today’s foremost contemporary fiction writers and poets.

Born in Sri Lanka of Indian/Dutch ancestry, he went to school in England and then moved to Canada.

Among his best-known works are the novel The English Patient, which was made into an award-winning feature film, and the novel Anil’s Ghost, which was awarded France’s Prix Medicis, Canada’s Governor-General’s Award, and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. His other work includes the memoir Running in the Family and the novels In the Skin of a Lion and Coming Through the Slaughter.His most recent novel, Divisadero, was published in 2007.

A recent nonfiction work is The Conversations: Walter Murch & the Art of Editing Film
. He is also the author of four collections of poetry including The Cinnamon Peeler, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and, most recently, Handwriting.

Author’s remarks and a reading followed by question-and-answer period and book signing. Free and open to the public. No tickets needed.

Date: Wednesday, November 5
Time: 8 pm
Place: Memorial Chapel (221 High Street)