Every other Tuesday this spring, Wellesley College presents the Newhouse Center’s Spring 2011 Distinguished Writers Series. Authors Lydia Davis, Susan Straight and Marlon James, Meir Shalev, Ha Jin, and Caryl Phillips will be featured. The series events will consist of reading followed open dialogue with the audience. All readings will take place at the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Green Hall, Wellesley College, on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM. All events are free and open to the public.
February 1 – Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, the most recent of which, “Varities of Disturbance,” was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. In 2009, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux published “The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.” Davis is the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship and was named a Chevalier of the Order of the Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and translations of modern writers.
February 15 – Susan Straight is the author of six novels, including “Highwire Moon,” a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, and “A Million Nightingales,” a finalist for the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her new novel is “Take One Candle Light a Room,” published in 2010. “The GOlden Gopher,” a chapter from the novel, published on its own, won the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Story. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine, and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Straight teaches at the University of California, Riverside.
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. His second novel, “The Book of Night Women” (Riverhead, 2009), won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and the 2010 Minnesota Book Award, in addition to being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the NAACP Image Award. His first novel, “John Crow’s Devil,” was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, in addition to being a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. James teaches literature and creative writing at Macalester College.
March 1 – Meir Shalev, Israel’s most celebrated novelist, was born in 1948 in Nahala, Israel’s first moshav. His books include “A Pigeon and a Boy,” winner of the 2008 National Jewish Book Award, and “The Blue Mountain,” one of the top five bestsellers in Israeli publishing history. His numerous awards include the Brenner Prize (Israel’s highest literary award), the Juliet Club Prize, and the Chiavari Prize. Shalev’s nonfiction book of essays, “Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible’s Intriguing Firsts,” will be published by Doubleday in 2011. In this secular work, Shalev shadows the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament, directing our attention to the first kiss, laugh, love, hate, dream, spy, and more.
March 15 – Ha Jin is the award-winning author of five novels, four collections of stories, three volumes of poetry, and one collection of essays. He was raised in the People’s Republic of China and taught himself English while working the night shift as a railroad telegrapher in Jiamusi, a remote frontier city. He moved to the United States in 1985 and has written exclusively in English since 1990. Jin’s novels include “Waiting,” winner of the 1999 National Book Award, and “War Trash,” winner of the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award. His story collections include “Ocean of Words,” winner of the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award, “Under the Red Flag,” winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award, and “A Good Fall,” published in 2009. He is currently a professor of English at Boston University.
March 29 – Caryl Phillips is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in St. Kitts, West Indies, he was brought up in Leeds, England, and currently lives in New York City. He is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, including “Crossing the River,” winner of the 1993 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, “A Distant Shore,” winner of the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and “Dancing in the Dark,” winner of the 2006 PEN/Beyond Margins Award. He is also the recipient of the Matin Luther King Memorial Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Phillips began his writing career in the theater and has written several dramas and documentaries for radio and television.
For more information, visit www.newhouse-center.org or call 781.283.2698.