Fall Series 2006

Katherine Min '80 
Wednesday, October 18, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Min, author of widely anthologized and Pushcart Prize-winning short stories, will read from her debut novel, Secondhand World. John Dalton has said of the book, “What makes this novel so memorable-and hard to put down-is the realness and urgency of its emotion. It's a force that commands the reader from one aching and beautifully concise chapter to the next. [It] is both powerful and intimate and offers us a piercing, new view of immigrant isolation.”

"[A] haunting debut . . . Swirling, textured, beautifully detailed . . .
Min's rendering of an outsider family's tight-knit alienation is spot-on." -Publishers Weekly


Alexander Chee
Judith Frank
Thursday, October 26, 8:00 p.m.
Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115)

Lambda-Award-winning writers and Amherst College faculty Chee and Frank will read from works in progress. Chee, Visting Writer and author of the highly acclaimed Edinburgh, is currently finishing Queen of the Night in which a 19th Century opera singer has vowed to sing but never speak, and believes her roles curse her to repeat the fates of her characters. Frank, Professor of English and author of the highly acclaimed Crybaby Butch, will read from her novel-in-progress, Noah's Ark, which centers upon a gay American couple that inherits two small children in the wake of a café bombing in Jerusalem that kills their parents. 

“Judith Frank creates a deeply human, bravely unsentimental story while at the same time investigating the meaning of butch identity as it reinvents itself from one generation to the next.” -Carol Anshaw

"Alexander Chee is the best new novelist I've seen in some time.” –Edmund White

Lorrie Moore
Friday, November 3, 8:00 p.m. 
Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115)

“From the very start, Lorrie Moore’s generous gifts as a writer have been clear: a wry, distinctive voice, a gift for the telling detail,” writes Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times—and it’s a feeling shared by the many and exuberant fans of this widely published novelist and short-story writer. Of one story collection, The New York Times Book Review wrote, “Birds of America […] will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability.”

“[I]t's important to remember that Moore, while fascinated almost exclusively with broken people, is among the very funniest writers alive.” –Dave Eggers


Catherine Ciepiela '83 
November 9, 8:00 p.m.
Amherst Books (8 Main Street) 

In her new book, The Same Solitude, Ciepela studies the epistolary romance between modernist poets Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak. Clare Cavanaugh praises the book’s “impeccable scholarship, theoretical acumen, and rich, resourceful close readings” and Honor Moore Ceipela’s “remarkable and moving work of criticism and biography.” Ciepiela is Associate Professor of Russian at Amherst College and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems.

“Still, we have the same solitude, the same journeys and searching, and the same favorite turns in the labyrinth of literature and history.” Boris Pasternak to Marina Tsvetaeva


Katharine Weber
Tuesday, November 14, 8:00 p.m. 
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Weber is the author of the novels The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, all New York Times Notable Books. Of her latest, about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 workers, Cynthia Ozick writes, “Triangle is a marvel of ingenuity, bridging history and imagination, astonishing musical inventiveness and genuine social tragedy. It is a wide-awake novel as powerful as it is persuasive, probing and capturing human verities. ”

“Here one of our most irresistible writers meets one of the most immovable events of our history. Triangle is an incandescent novel. ” —Madison Smartt Bell


Peter Covino '85 
Thursday, December 7, 8:00 p.m. 
Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) 

Of Covino’s collection, Cut Off the Ears of Winter, W.S. DiPiero has said,“These poems are acts of discovery,” and Lynn Emanuel has called it “Restless, worldly, intelligent, and beautiful.” Covino’s chapbook, Straight Boyfriend, received the Frank O'Hara Prize in Poetry in 2001. Covino, born and raised in Italy, and teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island.

“Here are psalms against the sinister. Here, too, are eclogues of mercy.[…] This is a book of virtues better far than our deserving." —Donald Revell

Spring Series 2007


Michael Collier
February 15, Thursday, 8 pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall

Michael Collier is the author of five books of poems, including The Ledge, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The Washington Post called his most recent, Dark, Wild Realm, an “elegant, accessible, closely observed” collection that “seeks the unstable spaces between light and shadow, waking and sleep, spirit and body, and the places where the living and dead pass one another.”


Olga Grushin
February 19, Monday, 8 pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall

Born in Moscow and raised in Prague, Olga Grushin now lives in Washington DC, where she writes her widely published short fiction. The Dream Life of Sukhanov, her first novel—written in English, her third language—has been praised as a “haunting dreamscape of her native land […] to be cheered here, there and everywhere,” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and “Gogolesque in its sardonic humor.” (The New York Times).


Chris Adrian
February 28, Wednesday, 8 pm
Amherst Books

In his new novel, The Children’s Hospital, a hospital is preserved, afloat, after the earth is flooded beneath seven miles of water. “Chris Adrian is truly brilliant,” writes Nathan Englander. “I’m not saying this because he’s a writer, and a pediatrician, and now in divinity school. I simply believe him to be a person with a unique way of processing the world around him and the ability to communicate that vision back to us in what is often a startlingly beautiful manner.”


Brian Morton
March 12, Monday, 8 pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall

The New Yorker called Brian Morton’s recent Breakable You, “Ferociously moving” and elaborated: “This packed novel about the vagaries of love and grief takes place in a New York straight out of Woody Allen: enormous apartments abound, and girls in bars say things like ‘Paul Auster makes me wet.’” Brian Morton is the author of three other novels: The Dylanist, A Window Across the River, and Starting Out in the Evening, the film version of which premiered at Sundance in January.


Claire Messud
April 12, Thursday, 8 pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall

Two of her three previous books were PEN/Faulkner finalists, all were New York Times Notable Books, and Claire Messud has been described as a writer “of near-miraculous perfection” (The New York Times Book Review). Now The Village Voice calls her latest, The Emperor’s Children, “A gripping story of clashing ambitions, compromised loyalties, and the love/hate relationship between the powerless and the powerful. […T]he narrative goes beyond social satire, deepening into a hypnotic, moving read.”


Daniel Hall
April 16, Monday, 8 pm
Alumni House

Daniel Hall’s first book, Hermit with Landscape, was chosen by James Merrill for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, and his second, Strange Relation, was selected for The National Poetry Series. Of his newest, Under Sleep, Richard Wilbur praises the collection’s “rich account of consciousness and of the density of any experience,” and Stephen Yenser calls it a “splendid new book, at once so sad, witty, and exquisitely made.” Hall is currently the writer-in-residence at Amherst College.


John Hennessy
April 26, Thursday, 8 pm
Amherst Books

Daniel Hall writes of the poet’s new collection, Bridge and Tunnel, a gritty rhapsody to a New Jersey childhood: “Whether he is […] grappling with his mother's bizarre cosmology, or explaining mortality to his young son, Hennessy's music recalls the wild delirium of a Klezmer band. This startling new voice is really a houseful of voices, sage and seductive, heartbreaking and hilarious by turns.” Hennessy’s poems have been widely published, and he currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.