As we look forward to 2013 here is a sneak preview of some of the authors who will be guests of the Writers Institute as part of our Spring 2013 Visiting Writers Series. We invite you to sample some of their previously published work, while awaiting the release of their newest books.
2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (2012)by Jorgen Randers— One of the world’s most influential futurists, and a pioneer in the field of environmental science and sustainability studies, Jorgen Randers coauthored the 1972 global bestseller, The Limits to Growth. Forty years later, Randers, the former Deputy Director General of the World Wildlife Fund, and current Professor of Climate Strategy at Norway’s Bedriftøkonomisk Institut (Europe’s second largest business school) will visit us to present a new forecast about the perils facing human civilization.
Tenth of December: Stories (to be published January 8, 2013)by George Saunders— Short story writer Saunders has earned enthusiastic acclaim and a devoted cult-following for small gems of satire that earn comparison with the works of Vonnegut, Twain and Pynchon. Vince Passaro of The Nation called him, “the funniest writer in America.” In advance praise, Jennifer Egan called Tenth of December, “his most subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing” collection and said, “Saunders is a true original—restlessly inventive, yet deeply humane.” Previously published collections that may interest you include In Persuasion Nation (2006), Pastoriala (2000) and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996).
The Obituary Writer (to be published March 4, 2013) by Ann Hood— This new novel by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle (2007) presents two women coping with heartbreak and loss during different periods in American history: at the beginning of JFK’s presidential administration, and in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake. Novelist Andre Dubus III said in advance praise, “It is a rare novelist who can summon the creative nerve to plumb the depths of grief, but that's just what Ann Hood does here with such compassion and grace…. a deeply engaging and moving book.”
Renato, the Painter (2012) by Eugene Mirabelli— In this tale of an elderly painter completely consumed by love of his art, 81-year-old UAlbany Professor Emeritus Eugene Mirabellis has produced a masterpiece about the experience of aging. Publishers Weekly said, “In prose as lusty and vigorous as Renato himself, Mirabelli captures the feeling of coming to terms— ready or not— with old age.” William Kennedy said in advance praise, “Age bends and fate twists this artist, but he carries on with his 'perishable art and human love'— the indefatigable artist as his own work of art.”
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories (2012)by Nathan Englander— These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction. Beautiful and courageous, funny and achingly sad, the book earned the City of Cork, Ireland’s Frank O’Connor Prize for short story writing.
All That Is (to be published April 2, 2013) by James Salter— At the age of 87, acclaimed American novelist James Salter has written a new novel that is being heralded as a major literary event. In prose that recalls the best of Hemingway, All That Is tells the story of a naval officer who returns from the carnage of the Pacific Theater to work as a book editor in bohemian New York. While you wait for publication, you may wish to read A Sport and a Pastime (1967), which New York Times reviewer and novelist Reynolds Price called, "As nearly perfect as any American fiction I know.”
Gilead: A Novel (2004) by Marilynne Robinson— Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Gilead tells the intimate tale of three generations of fathers and sons in one family of American midwestern Congregationalists. Rife with personal conflicts and spiritual battles, the novel spans the years from the Civil War to the twentieth century. Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order,” said the reviewer for Slate. You may also wish to read Robinson’s new essay collection about moral and spiritual crises in America, When I Was a Child I Read Books (2012).
The City of Devi (to be published February 4, 2013)by Manil Suri— Mathematician and acclaimed novelist Manil Suri’s new novel is set in the city of Mumbai under threat of nuclear attack. Novelist Kiran Desai said in advance praise, “The City of Devi combines, in a magician's feat, the thrill of Bollywood with the pull of a thriller…. this is a fiercely imagined story of three souls haunted by a love that will change their most elemental ideas of identity.” You may also wish to read Suri’s bestselling first novel, The Death of Vishnu (2001), about the lives of people living in a single Bombay apartment block. Publishers Weekly said, “By turns charming and funny, searing and poignant, dramatic and farcical, this fluid novel is an irresistible blend of realism, mysticism and religious metaphor, a parable of the universal conditions of human life.”
The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel (2012) by Chris Bohjalian— A sweeping historical love story steeped in the Armenian heritage of bestselling author Bohjalian, this novel tells the tale of two women separated by time but connected by the past. The first is Elizabeth Endicott, an American who arrives as a humanitarian relief volunteer in Aleppo, Syria in 1915 fresh out of Mount Holyoke, with only a crash course in nursing, and the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The second is Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in modern-day, suburban New York who becomes drawn, unexpectedly, into the buried secrets of her family’s history. The Washington Post reviewer called the novel, “staggering… utterly riveting….”