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Kelly GangBard College at Simon’s Rock Poetry and Fiction Series will bring four major writers to campus this fall—MacArthur “Genius” and National Book Award finalist, Lydia Davis; two-time Man Booker prize winner, Peter Carey; Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Yusef Komunyakaa, and widely acclaimed poet, Kevin Young.    

The series, which has taken place at Simon’s Rock for more than 20 years, brings two poets and two fiction writers to campus every fall. Literature and languages faculty members Peter Filkins and Brendan Matthews organize the series to augment the classroom experience and expose students to the work of accomplished writers. Students in Filkin’s Guest Writers class study their works and develop questions in advance of each writer’s visit. During a “master class,” guest writers discuss their craft and respond to student questions. Following an intimate class discussion, each writer offers a reading on campus that is free and open to the public.   

Lydia Davis kicks off the series on September 30, 2008. She will read from her most recent work, Varieties of Disturbance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), which the New York Times called, “spare, elliptical short fiction… [that] dispenses with straightforward narrative in favor of a microscopic examination of language and thought.” Davis has written several short story collections including: The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories (1976), Sketches for a Life of Wassilly (1981), Story and Other Stories (1983), Break It Down (1986), Almost No Memory (1997), and Samuel Johnson Is Indignant (2002), as well as the novel, The End of the Story (1995).

On October 16, 2008 the two-time-Booker-prize-winning novelist, Peter Carey will read from his latest novel, His Illegal Self (Knopf, 2008), which the The New Yorker called “one of his best recent works.” A prolific writer, Carey’s work includes War Crimes (1979), The Fat Man in History (1980), Bliss (1981), Illywhacker (1985), Oscar and Lucinda (1988), The Tax Inspector (1991), The Unusual Life of Tristran Smith (1994), Collected Stories (1995), The Big Bazoohley (1995), Jack Maggs (1997), 30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account (2001), True History of the Kelly Gang (2001), My Life as a Fake (2003), Wrong about Japan (2005), and Theft: A Love Story (2006).

Widely celebrated poet, Kevin Young will visit campus on October 21, 2008, to read from his most recent collection For the Confederate Dead (Knopf, 2008). Recently, National Public Radio characterized the collection as one that explores the contradictions of our Confederate legacy and the troubled nation where that legacy still lingers." Young’s books of poetry include Black Maria (2005); Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003); To Repel Ghosts (2001), a finalist for the James Laughlin Award; and Most Way Home (1995), selected for the National Poetry Series and winner of the Zacharis First Books Award from Ploughshares.

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa will conclude the series, reading from his latest collection Warhorses (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) on November 13, 2008.  Komunyakaa's honors span a lifetime and include the William Faulkner Prize, the Thomas Forcade Award, and the Hanes Poetry Prize, among others. His collections include Dedications & Other Darkhorses (1977), Lost in the Bonewheel Factory (1979), I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head (1986), Toys in a Field, (1986), Dien Cai Dau (1988), Magic City (1992), Neon Vernacular (1993), Thieves of Paradise (1998), Pleasure Dome (2001), Talking Dirty to the Gods (2001), Taboo (2004), and Gilgamesh (2006).  

For event times and locations, check our frequently updated online calendar.