February-March 2017

Writers Take Center Stage

A variety of literary events that include an anniversary offering of the Gene Barnett Speaker Series and a lineup of authors, poets and editors are happening this semester at the Metropolitan and Florham campuses.

Gene Barnett Speaker — Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Richard Russo

In celebration of its 40th year, the Gene Barnett Speaker Series is hosting “An Evening with Richard Russo,” featuring the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of Empire Falls and the most recent New York Times Notable Book Everybody’s Fool. It will be held on Tuesday, March 28, 8 p.m., in Wilson Auditorium, Dickinson Hall, Metropolitan Campus.

Richard Russo 1
Richard Russo

Born in Johnstown, N.Y., Russo was teaching in the English department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale when his first novel, Mohawk, was published in 1986. Much of his work has been described as autobiographical, drawing on his life from his upbringing in upstate New York to his time teaching literature at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Empire Falls, a story that focused on working-class characters and the town’s mill-owning elite, received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A review on The New York Times said, “Russo’s command of his story is unerring, but his manner is so unassuming that his mastery is easy to miss. He satisfies every expectation without lapsing into predictability … As the pace quickens and the disparate threads of the narrative draw tighter, you find yourself torn between the desire to rush ahead and the impulse to slow down.” Empire Falls was adapted into a two-part HBO mini series in 2005 starring award-winning actors Paul Newman, Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Helen Hunt.

Russo’s most recent novel, Everybody’s Fool, and sequel to 1993’s Nobody’s Fool, is a New York Times 2016 Notable Book and a national bestseller. Described as classic Russo, the novel is “filled with humor, heart, hard times and people you can’t help but love, possibly because their various faults make them so human.” “Everybody’s Fool is a crowning achievement from one of the great storytellers of our time.”

His other works include Elsewhere: A Memoir, Straight Man, That Old Cape Magic and The Whore’s Child and Other Stories.

Russo holds a bachelor’s degree, a master of fine arts degree and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arizona.

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Copies of Russo’s books will also be available for purchase and signing. The lecture is free to the University community with a valid FDU ID, and $10 for the general public. For information call 201-692-7028. Thomas Stavola, English (Metro), is director of the Gene Barnett Speaker Series.

Creative Writing Events

The creative writing program at the Florham Campus is hosting Publishing Panels and a Spring Reading Series this semester. Sponsored by the Storipan Fund, the free events are open to the public.

Publishing Panels covering different topics will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on select Thursdays in Hartman Lounge, Hennessy Hall, at the Florham Campus. These discussions will be moderated by Rebecca Chace, creative writing and director, BA in creative writing (Flor).

Writers Group
From left are Minna Proctor, Erin Cox, Hugh Ryan and Craig Teicher.

Upcoming panels are: on March 2, “How to Submit to and Even Work at Literary Journals: Read Samples from TLR Slush Pile,” with Minna Proctor, editor, The Literary Review (TLR) (Flor); on March 9, “How to Research and Submit to a Literary Agent: Submit Sample Query Letters and Short Writing Sample,” with Erin Cox, literary agent, Weisbach Creative Management; on March 30, “How to Navigate the Poetry World and Write Literary Reviews in Major Publications,” with Craig Teicher, poetry editor, TLR (Flor), and freelance literary reviewer; on April 6, “How to Submit Work to Literary Publishing House: The Role of Agents and Reading Submissions,” with Kara Watson, editor, Scribner Publishing; and on April 20, “Literary Citizenship: How to Create a Writer’s Life?” with Hugh Ryan, freelance journalist and creative nonfiction writer.

Previous discussions featured Jennifer Werner, freelance writer and journalist, who spoke about “The Freelance Life: Social Media and the Freelance Writer. Writing and Reviewing for Online and Traditional Publications,” and alumna Chee Gates, BA’03 (Flor), manager of content development, Bed Bath and Beyond Inc., who discussed “Writing and Editing in the Corporate World: Digital and Social Content and Designing Editorial and Marketing Solutions.”

The Spring Reading Series, which will be held in Hartman Lounge, will feature two visiting writers: Cynthia Zarin, poet and creative nonfiction author, on Wednesday, March 29, from 7 to 8 p.m; and Coe Booth, young-adult and middle-grade fiction author, on Tuesday, April 10, from 2 to 3 p.m.

For information contact Rebecca Chace at chace@fdu.edu.