The Amherst College Center for Creative Writing is delighted to invite you to our fiction readings. All events are free, wheelchair-accessible, and open to the public, and will be followed by refreshments.

For more information, please call 542-8200 or visit the website of Amherst Books.

For listings of other local literary events, visit the Poetry Center at Smith, or the Valley Advocate, or Odyssey Bookshop websites.

Spring Series 2016

  Events

Jo Ann Beard
February 18th, Thursday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books

Jo Ann Beard is the author of a novel, In Zanesville, and The Boys of My Youth, a collection of autobiographical essays, which the Chicago Tribune called, “Extraordinary… Beard is writing not with the romanticism of a girl looking up at the stars, but with the brilliant cold light of the stars looking down at us.” Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies including Tin House, The New Yorker, and Best American Essays. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

 

Events

Alexander Chee
March 9th, Wednesday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books

Alexander Chee won a Whiting Award for his first novel, Edinburgh, and is a recipient of the NEA Fellowship in Fiction and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ledig House, and Civitella Ranieri. Karen Russell has described his brand-new novel, The Queen of the Night, as “a glorious performance . . . Enveloping, seductive.” And Helen Oyeyemi has called it “A night at an opera you’ll wish never-ending.” Chee’s writing has appeared in the The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, and NPR, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor at The New Republic. He lives in New York City.

Events

Rafael Campo ‘87
March 31st, Thursday, 8:00 pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall

The poet Rafael Campo teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is the author of six volumes of poetry, including the new collection Alternative Medicine, as well as the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and two Lambda Literary Awards, among numerous other honors. According to Mark Doty, Campo’s work inhabits “the landscape of birth and of dying, sorrow and sex, shame and brave human persistence—first and last things, center stage in these large-hearted, open, deeply felt poems.”


Events

Catherine Newman ‘90
April 7th, Thursday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books

Catherine Newman writes essays, criticism, and fiction, and her work has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, O Magazine, and many other publications. She is the Real Simple etiquette columnist and the author of two memoirs, including Waiting for Birdy, as well as a forthcoming middle-grade novel. Claire Messud writes of her new book, Catastrophic Happiness, “Hilarious, wise, sometimes neurotic and always delicious, Catherine Newman is a brilliant observer of contemporary parenthood. This book is a gem.”

Events  

Amity Gaige
April 14th, Thursday, 8:00 pm
The Alumni House, Amherst College

Jonathan Franzen writes of Shroder, Amity Gaige’s most recent novel: “The measure of Gaige's great gifts as a storyteller is that she persuades you to believe in a situation that shouldn't be believable, and to love a narrator who shouldn’t be lovable.” Shroder has been published in 18 countries and was shortlisted for The Folio Prize. It was also named one of Best Books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Gaige is the author of two other novels, O My Darling and The Folded World. She is the current Visiting Writer at Amherst College.

 

Fall Series 2015

Events

Mary Gaitskill
October 7th, Wednesday, 6:00 p.m.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall
Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novel Two Girls, Fat and Thin, as well as Veronica, which was nominated for the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award, and LA Times Book Award, and, most recently, The Mare. She is also the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To, which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998, and Don’t Cry. Gaitskill has been awarded numerous honors and prizes and, according to The New York Times Book Review, her “palpable talent puts her among the most eloquent and perceptive contemporary fiction writers.”

Events

Binyavanga Wainaina
October 21st, Wednesday, 6:00 p.m.
Pruyne Lecture Hall
Binyavanga Wainana is a Kenyan author, publisher, and cultural worker. He is the founding editor of one of Africa’s leading literary institutions, Kwani?His satirical essay, “How to Write About Africa” attracted international attention in 2005, and his memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, has been translated into 7 languages. Teju Cole praised the book’s “Glimmering, strobe-lit language . . . it reveal[s] a complex, cosmopolitan African experience too rarely depicted in books.” In April 2014, Wainaina was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

Events

Jonathan Moody
November 12th, Thursday, 6:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Jonathan Moody, a Pushcart Prize nominee and Cave Canem graduate, is the author of the poetry collections The Doomy Poems, which Terrance Hayes described as having an “innovative funkiness that transcends the ruckus and heartache of our modern world,” and Olympic Butter Gold, which won the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize. Moody’s poems have appeared in African American Review, The Common, and Harvard Review, among other publications. He teaches English at Pearland High School and lives in Fresno, Texas.

Events

Mark Vanhoenacker ‘96
November 19th, Thursday, 6:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Mark Vanhoenacker is a pilot and writer. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times as well as a columnist for Slate, and he’s also written for Wired, Financial Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Reviewing his book, Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot, The Wall Street Journal called Vanhoenacker “An exceptionally lucid and philosophically minded writer. He has spent the past several years taking notes about his life in the air and meditating on both the ethereal beauties and contradictions of flight.” He flies for British Airways.

Events

Jenny Offill
December 2nd, Wednesday, 6:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Jenny Offill is the author of two novels, Last Things, a New York Times Notable Book, and the recent Dept. of Speculation, which was shortlisted for a number of prizes and chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. The Boston Globe described it as “Slender, quietly smashing. . . . A book so radiant, so sparkling with sunlight and sorrow, that it almost makes a person gasp.” Offill is also the co-editor of two anthologies of essays and the author of several children's books. She teaches writing in New York City.

 

Previously:

Events
Joshua Mehigan
February 24th, Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.

Amherst Books
Joshua Mehigan’s second collection, Accepting the Disaster,was cited as a favorite book of 2014 in The New York Times Book Review, which praised the poems for their “deep human understanding—of work, of small-town life, of mortality and suffering—that makes them feel not just impressive but trustworthy.” His first book, The Optimist, was a finalist for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His poems have appeared in The Common, The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Village Voice, among other periodicals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Events
David Vann
March 10th, Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Published in 20 languages, David Vann’s internationally-bestselling books—Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, Goat Mountain, Aquarium, and the nonfiction books A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career At Sea and Last Day On Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter—have won 15 prizes, including best foreign novel in France and Spain, and appeared on 75 Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries.  He is currently a Professor at the University of Warwick in England and Honorary Professor at the University of Franche-Comté in France.


Events
Gina Apostol
March 23rd, Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Gina Apostol's most recent novel, Gun Dealers' Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize. The L.A. Review of Books called it “brilliant.” Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Philippine National Book Award. She was writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and a fellow at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy, among other fellowships. She lives in New York City and Western Massachusetts and grew up in Tacloban, the Philippines.


Events
Ayana Mathis
April 6th, Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books
Writing for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani described Ayana Mathis’s writing as “both lyrical and unsparing, meditative and visceral, and capable of giving the reader nearly complete access to her characters’ minds and hearts." The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, her first novel, was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an NPR Best Book of 2013, and an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of the 2014-15 New York Public Library's Cullman Center Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.

Fall Series 2014

Events

 

Judith Frank
September 8th, Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Alumni House

Scott Turow describes Judith Frank’s All I Love and Know, as “a brave, moving, and deeply compelling book, written with grace, about the ways even love and family devotion are challenged when the worst occurs.” And Dorothy Allison writes, “These people catch you by the heart so powerfully you can hardly believe it’s a novel.” Frank’s previous novel, Crybaby Butch, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2004. She is also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and has held residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell. She teaches English at Amherst College.


Events

 

Rowan Ricardo Phillips
September 16th, Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of Heaven (forthcoming) and The Ground: Poems, for which he received multiple honors, including the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, and many other publications. Poet Eric McHenry observes that “the ground Phillips treads is a middle ground—between spirit and flesh, heaven and earth, here and gone.” And Teju Cole, in The New York Times Book Review, called Phillips "the future of American poetry.” He is associate professor of English at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Poetry Center. 


Events

 

Stuart Dybek
October 20th, Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115)

In addition to two collections of poems, Stuart Dybek has published five books of fiction including Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, I Sailed With Magellan, and the recently published simultaneous pair, Paper Lantern: Love Stories and Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories. Writing for the New York Times Book Review, Darin Strauss says, "[Dybek's] two new collections establish him as not only our most relevant writer, but maybe our best." And George Saunders calls him “One of the most soulful writers in America, and a national treasure." He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University and divides his time among Illinois, Michigan, and the Florida Keys.


Events

 

Jeffrey Eugenides
October 30th, Thursday, 8:00 p.m.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

Jeffrey Eugenides is the author of three novels: his first, The Virgin Suicides, made into a film by Sofia Coppola; Middlesex, the second, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction among numerous other awards and was described as “a towering achievement” by the Los Angeles Times Book Review; The Marriage Plot, was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and was named the best novel of 2012 by independent booksellers in the United States. Eugenides is a professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. His work has been translated into 35 languages.


Events

 

Mark Wunderlich
December 3rd, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Mark Wunderlich’s poetry reminds us, as The New Yorker put it, “how fully the spirit can illuminate the depths.” He is the author of three volumes of poetry, including the recent The Earth Avails as well as Voluntary Servitude and The Anchorage, which received the Lambda Literary Award and about which J.D. McClatchy wrote, “This is a scary, sad, ecstatic, astonishing book—and a brilliant debut." Wunderlich teaches writing and literature at Bennington College and lives in New York's Hudson Valley.