Lydia Davis, one of America’s most original and influential writers, is the first featured speaker at the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities Fall 2011 Distinguished Writers Series Tuesday, September 20 at 4:30 p.m. at Wellesley College. Davis is best known for her acclaimed translations of Proust’s Swann’s Way and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and writing short stories, some of them among the shortest ever written.  The reading, followed by a lively discussion hosted by Dan Chiasson, Wellesley College Professor of English, takes place in the Newhouse Center’s inviting space and is free and open to the public.
“We have a fabulous slate of writers coming to the Newhouse Center this fall for the third year of our Distinguished Writers Series—and we’re particularly excited to kick off the season with Lydia Davis, whose talents as both writer and translator are tremendous,” notes Carol Dougherty, Newhouse director.  
The Newhouse Center’s Distinguished Writers Series is a great way to discover new books, talk to authors about their work and meet fellow book lovers in a setting like no other.  The Newhouse Center welcomes the public, together with students, faculty and staff, to the Wellesley College campus. Located just 12 miles from Boston and accessible by public transit, Wellesley’s idyllic surroundings provide a nearby retreat for the senses and inspiration that lasts well after a visit.


For more information, the public can visit or call 781-283-2698.  Wellesley College is located at 135 Central Street, Wellesley, MA. For driving and public transit directions to the campus, please visit 




Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, the most recent of which, “Varieties of Disturbance,” was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. In 2009, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published “The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis,” a work The New Yorker said “is probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure and human wisdom.” 


In 2003, Davis received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant for showing “how language itself can entertain, how all that what one word says, and leaves unsaid, can hold a reader’s interest.”   Her crystalline prose is above all else a monument to her perceptual intelligence.


She has been called “an American virtuoso of the short story form” by and “one of the quiet giants . . . of American fiction” by the Los Angeles Times Book Review.


Ever since the late 1970s, Davis has worked as a translator of French literature and philosophy.  Named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and her translations of modern writers, including Maurice Blanchot, Michel Leiris and Marcel Proust, her translation of Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary,”the archetypal tale of a desperate housewife, has received worldwide acclaim and was named one of the best books of 2010 by NPR, The New Yorker, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Guardian and many others.   




Future guests of the Newhouse Center Writers Series this fall include poets Martín Espada and Aracelis Girmay (Oct. 4), novelist Nina Revoyr and poet Christian Campbell (Oct. 18), and novelist Francisco Goldman (Nov. 1), who will give readings of their work and engage in open dialogues with audiences.  All readings take place on Tuesdays at 4:30p.m. in the Newhouse Center in Green Hall and are free and open to the public.


Founded in 2003 by a generous gift from Susan Marley Newhouse ’55 and Donald Newhouse, the Newhouse Center for the Humanities generates and supports innovative, world-class programming in the humanities and arts. The Newhouse Center’s mission is to create a dynamic and cosmopolitan intellectual community that extends from Wellesley College to the greater Boston-area community and beyond.


For more information or call 781-283-2698.  




The Wellesley College arts curriculum and the highly acclaimed Davis Museum and Cultural Center are integral components of the college’s liberal arts education. For decades, various departments and programs from across the campus have enlivened the community with world-class programming — classical and popular music, visual arts, theater, dance, author readings, symposia, and lectures by some of today’s leading artists and creative thinkers — most of which are free and open to the public.


Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,400 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.