NYS Writers Institute, February 26, 2013 4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus 8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Ann Hood, bestselling novelist and author of The Knitting Circle, and Eugene Mirabelli, critically-acclaimed novelist and UAlbany Professor Emeritus, will read from their recently released novels on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 8 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the authors will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.
"Although, of course, at four I could not say, I'm going to be a writer, I can tell you that I understood that I belonged in this world." (4:50)
Eugene Mirabelli, 81-year-old Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany, is the author of eight highly praised novels. His most recent, Renato, the Painter (2012), is the story of an elderly artist who lives his messy life with gusto, and who applies himself to art with great energy, defying the neglect of the public and the critics.
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.” Writer Andrei Codrescu said, “This generous, sprawling, fleshy novel of a life lived among lovers, friends, olives, wine, bread, and prosciutto, is a fresco of Sicilian-American-New England life… an American story that shows just how a first generation of immigrants branch from village craftsmen to engineers and artists.” Novelist Nicholas Delbanco said the novel “offers us the intimate workings of an aging man at the height of his powers who fears that they will ebb; he and his women and paintings are vividly rendered: fierce, fine.”
Mirabelli’s earlier novels include The Goddess in Love with a Horse (2008), The Passion of Terri Heart (2004), The Language Nobody Speaks (1999), The World at Noon (1994), No Resting Place (1972), The Way In (1968) and The Burning Air (1959). Novelist Anne Bernays called No Resting Place, “the best book about a contemporary marriage I have ever read.” The New York Times called The Way In, “a virtuoso performance.”
Reviewing The Passion ofTerri Heart for NPR, Andrei Codrescu said, “This touching, deft, and suspenseful novel should take its place on that lovely shelf alongside Lolita.”
A founder of Alternative Literary Programs in the Schools (ALPS), a nonprofit literary arts organization that has arranged author residencies in school settings in 35 New York counties, Mirabelli also writes the arts-and-politics blog, Critical Pages.
Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novel, The Knitting Circle (2007), about a woman who takes up knitting in order to cope with the death of her young daughter. Carrie Brown of the Washington Post called it, “a wondrously simple book about something complicated: the nearly unendurable process of enduring after a great loss.” The novel is currently being adapted as an HBO television movie.
Hood was inspired to write The Knitting Circle by her own experience with grief after the death of her five-year-old daughter, Grace, an experience she chronicles in the memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief (2008), a New York Times Editor’s Choice. The Elle reviewer called it a “spare, gorgeously serpentine narrative. . . . Unforgettable.”
Hood’s newest book is The Obituary Writer (2013), about two women coping with heartbreak and loss during two different periods in American history: at the beginning of JFK’s presidential administration, and in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake. Novelist Tom Perrotta said, “In this poignant and incisive novel, Ann Hood brings history back to life in the most intimate way.” Novelist Andre Dubus III said, “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. The Obituary Writer is an unflinching exploration of loss and the love that somehow remains, one that both wounds and heals. This is a deeply engaging and moving book.”
Hood’s previous books include the novel, The Red Thread (2010), and the short story collection, An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life (2004). She is also the recipient of the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Best American Spiritual Writing Award. She is a faculty member of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the New School in New York City.