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Douglas Bauer
Douglas Bauer


NYS Writers Institute, October 29, 2013
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus


Douglas Bauer, acclaimed essayist and fiction writer, will present his new book, What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death (2013), a collection of autobiographical essays and meditations on the meaning of human existence, on Tuesday, October 29, 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 author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


Douglas Bauer’s
new book is the essay collection, What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death (2013). Rooted in Bauer’s boyhood on an Iowa farm, the book explores the meaning of human existence—love, family, memory, work, food, sickness and death—in a candid and deeply personal fashion.

In advance praise, Andre Dubus III, author of The House of Sand and Fog, said, “These are some of the finest, if not the finest, personal essays I have ever read. With exacting and exquisite prose, Douglas Bauer achieves the truly remarkable here: he plumbs the heart of his Midwestern family with brave and naked fairness, rendering his own mortality with a steadfastly clear-eyed and life-loving attention to all that is essential, our shared human frailty and resilience and those tangled but lasting ties that bind. What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death is a masterful, soul-nourishing work, and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough.” Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, said, “Bauer is a master of the telling detail. This is a beautiful book about mortal matters and the great lessons of time that are written on the body.”

What Happens Next?A graduate of UAlbany with a Ph.D. in English, Bauer is currently Professor of English at Bennington College, and is a member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He has previously taught at Harvard, Rice, Smith, and Ohio State University. His articles, essays, and criticisms have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Harper’s, Sports Illustrated, and Atlantic Monthly. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in both fiction and prose.

In 2008, Bauer published a memoir and portrait of his boyhood home town, Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home (2008). In order to write the book, Bauer took time off from his normal work life to help out on his father’s farm, tend bar at a local saloon and pitch in at the town Co-op. Bill Bryson, fellow Iowan and recent visitor to the New York State Writers Institute, praised Prairie City, Iowa calling it, “Kindly, shrewd, and endlessly absorbing— this is as good as a book gets.”

Bauer’s first novel, Dexterity (1989), received high praise for its depiction of a marriage gone bad in a run-down hamlet in upstate New York. The New York Times reviewer asserted, “The genius of Dexterity is that it is scrupulously organized and yet seamless in its narrative structure…. Mr. Bauer is himself extremely dexterous.” His second novel, The Very Air (1997), tells the tale of a medical conman who sells implants of baboon gonads to impotent men in the 1920s and 1930s. Kirkus Reviews called it “An imaginative lark in the Doctorow vein…. rough and tumble fiction that exults in its inventiveness.” Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times called Bauer’s 1998 novel, The Book of Famous Iowans, “A novel of considerable nuance and power.”

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.