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Lydia Davis
Lydia Davis


NYS Writers Institute, October 1, 2013
4:15 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus


Lydia Davis, New York State Writers Institute Writing Fellow, University at Albany faculty member, and winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, one of world literature’s most prestigious prizes, will read from her work on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


Lydia Davis,
short story author, New York State Writers Institute Writing Fellow, and UAlbany English Department faculty member, received the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of literature. The award is given every two years to authors of any nationality in order to recognize an outstanding body of work in English or available in English translation. Writing in the Guardian (UK) in 2009, critic Hephzibah Anderson declared that the Booker International Prize “is fast becoming the more significant award, appearing an ever more competent alternative to the Nobel.” Previous winners have included Philip Roth (2011), Alice Munro (2009), Chinua Achebe (2007) and Ismail Kadare (2005). The prize is £60,000 (approximately $91,000).

Davis has been called “one of the quiet giants . . . of American fiction” (Los Angeles Times Book Review), “an American virtuoso of the short story form” (Salon), and “one of the best writers in America” (O Magazine). She is renowned in literary circles for perfecting the craft of the “extremely short short story,” and is beginning to enjoy a much wider readership. Novelist Dave Eggers has said that Davis’s work, “blows the roof off of so many of our assumptions about what constitutes short fiction.”

Her most recent book is The Collected Stories (2009), a compilation of pieces from four previously published volumes including Varieties of Disturbance (2007), Samuel Johnson is Indignant (2001), Almost No Memory (1997) and Break it Down (1986). In a New Yorker review, James Wood said, “Finally, one can read a large portion of Davis’s work, spanning three decades and more than seven hundred pages, and a grand cumulative achievement comes into view—a body of work probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom.”

Davis has taught five Community Writing Workshops for the Institute from 2005 – 2009 and is currently teaching a master class in fiction during the fall semester. She first visited UAlbany in 2000 as a guest of the Institute’s Visiting Writers Series. During that visit, Institute Director Donald Faulkner suggested she apply for a position in UAlbany’s English Department. She joined the faculty and became an Institute Writing Fellow in 2002. The following year, she received a $500,000 fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation.

A Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France, Davis is also one of the most respected translators into English of French literary fiction by Proust and Flaubert.

2013 Man Booker Internationl Prize winner

Previous Visit: March 4, 2010

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