Author Series features Fried and Saunders

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Author Series features Fried and Saunders

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Two internationally acclaimed authors will visit Johnson State College in March and April as part of the Spring Author Series.

Gabriel Fried will arrive at Johnson on March 29. George Saunders is scheduled to make his appearance April 11.

Both authors will read in the Stearns Stage Space, the times for those appearances yet to be determined.

Fried is a poet, and the poetry editor at Persea Books, an independently owned literary publishing house based in New York City. He teaches creative writing courses at the University of Missouri.

His book, “Making the New Lamb Take,” was named a Best Book of 2007 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the poem of the same title was awarded the Kathryn A. Morton Award for Poetry.

“Gabriel Fried was chosen as the poet this semester because his poetry is both highly imaginative and technically proficient,” said Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Elizabeth Powell. “Fried takes on a variety of subjects with great insight and love of language.”

Fried will give a reading visit to classes, and talk to the class that publishes the Gihon River Review.

Fried’s visit will be followed by Saunders, a well-established author known for his sharp satire and witty humor.

His works includes the story collection “Pastoralia” and “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline,” a children’s book, “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip,” and a novella, “The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil.”

Saunders is also a professor of creative writing, teaching at Syracuse University in New York.

“He’s a famously good teacher and kind soul,” said Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Jacob White. “He’s also wildly funny, and both his satirical fiction and nonfiction demonstrate a penetrating insight into our contemporary American culture. In addition to all of this, he’s simply a hugely revered writer and one of the most influential stylists in America.”

Other series events will be announced shortly.

The Author Series began in 2010 with a grant from the college’s President’s Fund, and has grown rapidly from there.

“The Author Series brings both established and emerging authors to campus to read from their work as well as meet with students in and outside of the class,” White said. “The purpose of this is to put B.F.A. in Creative Writing students in contact with current, living literature, and to expose the students to the clear continuum that exists between these authors’ efforts and their own.”

The series has brought a variety of fiction, poetry and nonfiction writers to the campus, including Pulitzer-Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, emerging young writers like Anna Maria Hong and Chris Bachelder, and David Lehman, the editor of the “Best American Poetry” series from Scribner.

Many of the B.F.A. students say the series provides a rare and welcome opportunity to interact with established writers.

“I liked that the authors took questions afterwards, because they were very helpful and gave good advice,” said Elizabeth Glasser, a B.F.A. in Creative Writing. “It is a good event to have, and it would be interesting to see more authors of multiple different genres and topics that aren’t usually seen.”

The Author Series has also provided other opportunities. Visiting authors have frequently agreed to publish in both the Gihon River Review and the Green Mountains Review.

In one case, the student-run Gihon River Review received an honorable mention in the most recent “The Best American Essays” anthology for publishing an essay by Michael Steinberg, who was part of the 2010 Author Series.

On a broader scale beyond the B.F.A. Creative Writing program itself, White believes the Author Series brings culture and insight to everyone on campus.

“The series deepens JSC’s overall cultural community by opening the campus up to important voices and perspectives that deepen our understanding of human experience,” he said.

 

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