NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
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AUTHOR OF DARKLY HUMOROUS TALES, 2008 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NYS Writers Institute, Septenber 25, 2008
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Campus Center 375
8:00 p.m. Reading | Standish Room, Science Library
Jim Shepard, fiction writer renowned for darkly humorous tales, will speak about his prizewinning story collection, “Like You’d Understand, Anyway” (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award, on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and are free and open to the public.
Jim Shepard, novelist and short story writer, is renowned for darkly humorous tales, unusual historical settings, and work that explores the peculiar pain of male adolescence.
Shepard’s newest story collection, “Like You’d Understand, Anyway” (2007), received the 2008 Story Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Among the protagonists of these 11 stories we meet the Chief Executioner of the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror”; the first woman in space in star-crossed orbits with her Cosmonaut lover; Nazi scientists searching for Yetis in Tibet; and a Victorian explorer mapping the hellishly hot Great Australian Desert.
Daniel Handler (AKA “Lemony Snicket”) said in the “New York Times” that the collection is “testament not only to Jim Shepard’s talents but also to the power of the short story itself... serving no agenda but literature’s primary and oft-forgotten one: the delight of the reader.” Writing in the “Chicago Tribune,” Donna Seaman called the collection, “Utterly captivating . . . Shepard's gutsy, brilliantly imagined, strongly made, fresh and propulsive stories grapple with follies minor and major, deliver us to the wilderness at the heart of the human psyche, and explode and reassemble our vision of the carnival we call civilization.”
Previous story collections include “Love and Hydrogen” (2004) and “Batting against Castro” (1996). Dave Eggers said of “Love and Hydrogen,” “This is one of the most important collections in years because Shepard does so many things that are all too rare in the medium.... Let’s hope that Shepard becomes as influential as he should be. He’s the best we’ve got.”
Shepard’s most recent novel is “Project X” (2004), a probing, compassionate portrayal of a Columbine-style school killing. The “New York Times” said Shepard “is at his most brilliant in capturing the demented essence of junior high.”
Shepard’s earlier novels include “Nosferatu” (1998), about German silent film director F. W. Murnau; “Kiss of the Wolf” (1994), about an 11-year-old boy whose mother decides to conceal a hit-and-run accident; “Lights Out in the Reptile House” (1990), about a teenager’s life in a fascist dictatorship; “Paper Doll” (1987) about an American B-17 crew flying a mission over Nazi Germany; and “Flights” (1983), about a troubled boy who finds the possibility of redemption in becoming a pilot. Shepard is also the co-author with William Holinger of six young adult novels about high school sports teams under the pseudonym Scott Eller.
Jim Shepard is also editor of “Writers at the Movies: Twenty-six Contemporary Authors Celebrate Twenty-six Memorable Movies”; coeditor with Amy Hempel of “Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs” (1995); and coeditor with Ron Hansen of “You've Got to Read This: Contemporary American Writers Introduce Stories That Held Them in Awe” (1994).
Writers Online Magazine Article:
Jim Shepard Introduction by Edward Schwarzschild
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620
or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.