Wednesday, September 8
Daniel Arts Center - McConnell Theater
Inaugurated in 2005, the Book One program asks the members of the incoming class to read the first book of the General Education program and their college careers over the summer. Each year, a book is selected based on excellence and suitability for promoting interdisciplinary conversations about the intersection of cultures. The author speaks during the Writing and Thinking Workshop week to enrich the students’ appreciation of the book and to give attendees the chance to ask questions of the author.
This year's Book One selection is How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. Chee will offer a reading and talk to members of the Simon's Rock community on Wednesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. His talk and the Q&A that follows will give us all a chance to continue the conversation around the 2021 Book One. The public is also invited to attend a live stream of the event, free of charge, via Zoom.
In How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, a brilliantly imagined collection of essays, Chee explores the experiences that defined his place in the world and his evolving sense of himself: as a son, friend, lover, Korean American, gay man, student, teacher, and writer. Chee writes about his father’s death; his activism during the AIDS crisis; the jobs that supported him (Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley) while working on his first novel; the lasting influence of his professors; reckoning with painful memories; and the lessons learned from the intersections of life, literature, and politics. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel was named a Best Book of 2018 by TIME, the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Wired, Esquire, Buzzfeed, New York Public Library, Boston Globe, The Paris Review, Mother Jones, and Out Magazine, among others.
In addition to writing our Book One, Alexander Chee is the author of the best-selling and award-winning novels The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh. His books have won the Iowa Writers' Workshop's Michener Copernicus Prize in Fiction, the Lambda Literary Foundation's Editor's Choice Prize, and the Asian American Writers' Workshop Literary Award. Earlier this year, Chee was named both a United States Artists Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. His other awards and fellowships include a Whiting Award, NEA Fellowship, MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri, and Amtrak. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College, a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at the Virginia Quarterly Review.
*The lecture and Q&A will take place in person for the Simon's Rock campus community. The public is invited to tune in via Zoom.