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Scott joins list of celebrated writers as guests in the Poetry and Fiction Series

GT. BARRINGTON, MA – Joanna Scott, celebrated novelist and short story writer, will read from her fiction at Bard College at Simon’s Rock on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m   This event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Oak Room at Blodgett House.  This reading was originally scheduled in early October, and was rescheduled for this date.

Scott is the author of nine books, including Everybody Loves Somebody,  Tourmaline, and  The Manikin (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize).

Known for her historical settings and meticulous detail, Scott deals with completely new situations in each book.  In The Closest Possible Union, she chronicles the complicated drama of a slave ship; it’s captain and crew.  In Tourmaline, set in Elba, an island off the coast of Italy, she writes about a family in the 1950’s in which the father is seduced by the promises of wealth the stone might provide; but once there they find other alluring and destructive distractions.  

Fading, My Paracheene Belle, portrays an aged man coming to terms with the death of his wife after more than 50 years of marriage. The New York State Writers Institute says, “The novel provides a rich mixture of fable and allegory, as the old man relates his extravagant history in a unique and fabulous dialect.”  The Manikin, set in a deteriorating Upstate New York mansion in the 20’s, tells of a widow and her unusual servants, but begins the story with an exploration on the nature of instinct and the reflections a migrating owl. Make Believe tells the story of two sets of grandparents  – one white, one black – involved in a custody battle over their four-year-old grandson.

Scott’s work has attracted praise from many directions, including one Washington Post writer who describes a short story in The Paris Review: “It was as intricate and complex as a novel, yet as clear as a stone in water.”  A New Yorker review says of one work: “So steady and particular is the strong light of her gaze that each character – spurred equally by hope and anger – is brilliantly illuminated.”  Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, describes her novels as “astonishingly beautiful, subtle, profound, and unlike those of any other writer I know.” 

Joanna Scott has received numerous honors and awards for her writing, including Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation fellowships, the Rosenthal Award from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and most recently a Lannan fellowship. She has been a finalist for the prestigious Pen/Faulkner Award twice (for Arrogance and Various Antidotes) and was selected as a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for The Manikin. Her stories have been included in Best American Stories (1993) and The Pushcart Prize, and in 1992 she won the Aga Khan Award from The Paris Review.    

Joanna Scott is also the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester.

The Poetry and Fiction Series, coordinated by faculty member Peter Filkins, is a Simon’s Rock and Great Barrington tradition that has hosted such writers as Seamus Heaney, Annie Proulx, James Merrill, William Kennedy, Susan Sontag, Michael Cunningham, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Richard Wilbur, Le Thi Diem Thuy, and others.

The readings, which are generally one hour in length, take place in the Blodgett House Oak Room. This parlor-like room provides an intimate setting for listening to writers of accomplishment and unusual talent. An opportunity to ask questions follows each reading, and both students and members of the community are encouraged to participate.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706
E-mail: bdellarocca@simons-rock.edu