NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF LITERATURE
NOVELIST, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST, TO DISCUSS “A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN,”
NYS Writers Institute, December 3, 2009
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Science Library 340
7:30 p.m. Reading | Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park
Kate Walbert, novelist and National Book Award finalist for “Our Kind” (2004) will discuss her new novel “A Short History of Women” (2009) on Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] at the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Science Library 340, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library, and are free and open to the public.
Kate Walbert, fiction writer who makes a specialty of novels composed of interlinked stories, is the author of a new “novel in stories,” “A Short History of Women” (2009), the tale of five generations of women from the 19th to 21st centuries. The novel follows the fortunes of Dorothy Townsend— an early British suffragist who orphans her children while taking part in a hunger strike— and her female American descendants.
In a rave review, Leah Hager Cohen said in the “New York Times,” “Each chapter is like a slice of exquisite cake…. I found myself going back time and again to reread whole paragraphs, not because they’d been obscure, but in the way one might press a finger to the crumbs littering an otherwise cleaned plate: out of a desire to savor every morsel.” In a starred review, “Publishers Weekly” called it “perfectly calibrated, intricately structured, and gripping from page one.” The “Washington Post” called it, “a witty and assured testament to the women’s movement and women writers, obscure and renowned.”
Walbert was a National Book Award finalist for “Our Kind” (2004), a “novel in stories” about the lives and struggles of divorced “country club housewives” living in the 1950s after their men abandon them for younger women. Writing in the “New York Times,” Jennifer Egan said, “Wry and compressed, full of quick, telling details....I can’t think of another contemporary novel except James Salter’s ‘Light Years’ that so zealously grapples with the passage of time as a subject....Startling and cumulative [in its] heft.”
Walbert received the O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes for her short story, “The Gardens of Kyoto,” which she expanded into a 2001 same-titled novel. The book explores the relationship between Ellen, the narrator, and her cousin Randall who is killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima. The “New Yorker” reviewer said, “Like the gardens of its title, this début novel is an exquisite conundrum, replete with ghosts and hiding places.”
Walbert’s first fiction collection was the “New York Times” Notable Book, “Where She Went” (1998), a volume of fourteen interconnected stories about the rootless, wandering lives of a mother and daughter, from the 1950s to the 1990s. On publication, “Publishers Weekly” proclaimed her “one of the season’s most promising new writers.”
Walbert is a lecturer in English at Yale University.
The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library. For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620, or the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library at 518-371-8622 or online at www.cphlibrary.org.
PREVIOUS VISIT: October 11. 2001
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute
at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.