Novelist May-lee Chai To Read at Amherst College Sept. 27

September 8, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Novelist May-lee Chai, the Visiting Writer in the Creative Writing Center at Amherst College, will read from her work at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at the college. The event, sponsored by the Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Of Glamorous Asians, Chai's forthcoming collection of stories and essays, Marilyn Krysl has remarked, "We're in the hands of a sophisticate with a piercing eye, a nuanced intelligence and a sprightly sense of irony." Chai's earlier work earned similar praise: her first novel, My Lucky Face, an intimate investigation of China's cultural revolution, was called "beautifully told." Her second book, The Girl from Purple Mountain, a family memoir that Chai co-wrote with her father, was nominated for a National Book Award in 2001. Chai's fiction and essays have been widely published in such places as the San Francisco Chronicle, ZYZZYVA and Missouri Review.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Novelist Susan Stinson To Read at Amherst College Sept. 20

September 8, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Novelist Susan Stinson will read from her work at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20, at Amherst Books at 8 Main Street. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Marilyn Wann describes Stinson's novel Venus of Chalk as satisfying "like that first long breath after a good cry; like a thorough spring cleaning; like a warm, clothing-optional hug." Her three earlier books offer similar pleasures: as Alice Sebold puts it, "Through an ardent faith in the written word, Susan Stinson is a novelist who translates a mundane world into the most poetic of possibilities." Her work, which has been published in The Kenyon Review, The Seneca Review and The Woman's Review of Books, has received the Benjamin Franklin Award in Fiction, as well as a number of fellowships. Stinson lives in Northampton, where she is currently at work on a novel about the 18th century theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Poet Elizabeth Alexander To Read at Amherst College Sept. 16

September 8, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Poet Elizabeth Alexander will read from her work at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 16, at Amherst Books at 8 Main Street. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Arnold Rampersand has called Elizabeth Alexander "one of the brightest stars in our literary sky, a poet of poise and power." Alexander is the author of three collections of poetry, including her most recent, Antebellum Dream Book, and a book of essays about race, art and culture, The Black Interior, in which she studies "black life and creativity behind the face of stereotype and limited imagination." Alexander's poems and essays have been widely anthologized and published in such places as the Paris Review and The Village Voice, and she has lectured across the country on African American art and culture and abroad for nearly two decades. She currently teaches in the English and African-American Studies Department at Yale University.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Bruce Davidson Photos of Isaac Bashevis Singer at Mead Art Museum Sept. 7 through Oct. 24

September 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present "Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side: Photographs by Bruce Davidson" from Tuesday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 24, 2004. Organized and presented by the Mead Art Museum on the occasion of the centennial of Singer's birth, the exhibition reflects his remarkable collaboration with Davidson in 43 photographs made between 1957 and 1990. Bruce Davidson will present a slide lecture, followed by a public screening of the film Isaac Singer's Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko's Beard on Thursday Sept. 30, at 4 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. Jill Meredith, the museum director, will give a gallery talk on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. in the museum.

"Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side" includes a selection of Davidson's portraits of Singer, stills from the film, the black and white portfolio "The Garden Cafeteria," and selections from the Lower East Side series. "The Garden Cafeteria," was a collaboration depicting denizens of the East Broadway restaurant frequented by Singer during his trips to The Jewish Daily Forward. This portfolio, never previously exhibited, includes an introduction by Singer. Through Davidson's lens we see Singer's literary world of Holocaust survivors and émigrés from Eastern Europe - a displaced culture in its twilight.

Born in Poland in 1904, Isaac Bashevis Singer lived much of his life in the United States, where he died in 1991. The Yiddish writer collaborated with the New York documentary photographer Bruce Davidson on the film Isaac Singer's Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko's Beard in 1973. Singer and Davidson, friends who lived in the same building on the upper West Side of Manhattan and shared an interest in New York City street life, created a funny and surreal feature, both a documentary about Singer in New York and a dramatization of one his short stories. During and after production, Davidson made portraits of Singer and later returned to the Lower East Side for a series of documentary photographs.

Born in 1933, Davidson began to photograph as a child in Oak Park, Ill., winning a prize in the Kodak National High School Competition at 16. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. A freelance photographer for LIFE, he joined Magnum Photos in 1958, and produced documentary photo essays, such as "Brooklyn Gang" and the "Freedom Rides." In 1962 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and photographed the Civil Rights Movement, including a rally in Harlem, Ku Klux Klan cross burnings and the marches in Birmingham and Selma. In 1966 he won the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts and documented East 100th Street in Harlem, work that was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and published in 1970. His most recent project is Subway (2004), a revised and expanded book and exhibition of New York City culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

An illustrated catalogue, published by the Mead Art Museum and the University of Wisconsin Press, will accompany the exhibition, with texts by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Ilan Stavans and Jill Meredith, and an interview with Bruce Davidson by Gabriele Werffeli.

Despite ongoing construction on campus, the Mead Art Museum is open. The temporary entrance is located next to Stirn Auditorium and the museum remains wheelchair accessible; please call ahead for details. The Mead is open regular hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information is available on the museum's Website at www.amherst.edu/~mead or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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Sherre Harrington Appointed as Amherst College's Librarian of the College

September 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Sherre L. Harrington has been appointed as Amherst College's new Librarian of the College. She succeeds Willis Bridegam, who retired at the end of August after 29 years as Amherst's College Librarian. Harrington's appointment is effective September 1.

Harrington comes to Amherst from Vanderbilt University, where she worked since 1987. Her interests encompass women's studies and the social responsibility of the library, and she is an active member of the American Library Association.

Harrington has been a librarian at Vanderbilt for nearly 17 years, serving most recently (since 1998) as director of the Stevenson Science and Engineering Library at Vanderbilt. Prior to that, she was assistant director for public services at Vanderbilt's Central Library and Stevenson Library (1990-1998) and bibliographic instruction coordinator at Central Library (1987-1990).

Harrington also served as acting director of Vanderbilt's Anne Potter Wilson Music Library from 2000 to 2001. Before joining the Vanderbilt staff, Harrington was director of library services at the Salkehatchie campus of the University of South Carolina (1977-1987).

Harrington earned a B.A. degree in English language and literature from the University of South Carolina in 1976 and a master of librarianship degree from the University of South Carolina's College of Librarianship in 1977.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu