Thursday, February 19, 2009

How Fiction Works: A Roundtable

LISA FLANZRAICH, MEDIA LIBRARIAN at Benjamin Rosenthal Library, shared her work with me over the weekend, and it's great to know that there is another writer among the library staff other than yours truly and my boss, Systems Librarian Arthur Ben Chitty. Other things literary going on at the Queens College campus, from its Evening Readings website:

A Roundtable on How Fiction Works with Peter Carey, E. L. Doctorow and James Wood
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Time: 7 pm-9 pm
Admission: $20, free with CUNY student ID

Peter Carey is one of only two writers to win the Booker Prize twice. He is the author of many novels, including Oscar and Lucinda, Illywhacker, Jack Maggs, True History of the Kelly Gang, My Life as a Fake, Theft: A Love Story, and His Illegal Self. The Boston Globe has said: “No other Australian writer in our time has succeeded as well as Peter Carey in writing novels that compel the attention of a worldwide audience. His work…occupies a high plane of literary brilliance.” The New Yorker has said of the work of Mr. Carey: “The ingenuity, empathy, and poetic ear that the novelist brings to his feat of imposture cannot be rated too highly.” The Los Angeles Times Book Review has said: “We have a great novelist living on the planet with us, and his name is Peter Carey.”

E. L. Doctorow is the National Book Award-winning author of many novels, including The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Billy Bathgate, World’s Fair, and The March. The New York Times Book Review has said: “E.L. Doctorow is an astonishing novelist—astonishing not only in the virtuosity with which he displays his mimetic and linguistic skills, but also in the fact that it is impossible to predict even roughly the shape, scope and tone of one his novels from its predecessors.” The New York Times has described Mr. Doctorow as being among “the first rank of contemporary novelists.”

James Wood is a book critic at The New Yorker, and the author of The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and, most recently, How Fiction Works. Cynthia Ozick has said of Mr. Wood: “He is our best critic; he thinks with a sublime ferocity. One can…be swept away by his exactitude, his penetration, the remarkable range of his reading, the unsurpassable (and sometimes unsettling) force of his autonomous prose; above all, by his stringent originality.” Janet Malcolm has described Mr. Wood as a critic “who reads more perspicaciously and writes more incisively than almost anyone producing criticism today.” The New York Review of Books has described Mr. Wood as “perhaps the strongest, and strangest, literary critic we have.”

The Roundtable with Peter Carey, E.L. Doctorow and James Wood will be moderated by Leonard Lopate.

The Queens College Evening Readings Series, begun in 1976, has grown in popularity over the years, a success owed to Joseph Cuomo, founder of the series, who consistently attracts the world’s foremost literary talent to the campus. “I read an awful lot,” Cuomo explained, “and when a writer connects with me, and I see how important his or her books are, I then reach out. We’ve had most of the Nobel Laureates here, many of whom gave readings before they had even won the prize.”

Queens College Evening Readings is made possible by support from the Office of the President of Queens College, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Dean of the Arts and Humanities. Other sponsors include the Student Association, the University Student Senate, the Committee for Disabled Students, Poets & Writers, Inc. and The New York Times Foundation.

Queens College, Music Building, Lefrak Concert Hall, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens, New York 11367, phone (718) 997-4647

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