nys writers logo


Nathan Englander, photo: Juliana Sohn
Nathan Englander


NYS Writers Institute, March 14, 2013
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Lecture Center 7, Academic Podium, Uptown Campus


Nathan Englander, major contemporary short story writer who mines his Jewish heritage and Orthodox boyhood for pathos and humor of universal significance, will read from his new collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (2012), Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 8 p.m. in Lecture Center 7, Academic Podium, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., he will present an informal seminar in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus. Cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany’s Center for Jewish Studies, the events are free and open to the public.

"I'm so happy to talk to people about what I do, but as a fiction writer." (7:38)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ann FrankNathan Englander,
major contemporary short story writer who mines his Jewish heritage and Orthodox boyhood for pathos and humor of universal significance, was named one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by the New Yorker. His newest collection is What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (2012), which received the City of Cork, Ireland’s Frank O’Connor Award— the world’s largest monetary short story prize. The book was also featured on numerous “Best of the Year” lists, including in the New York Times, and was included in Newsweek’s “12 for 2012.” The title of the book pays homage to short story writer Raymond Carver’s classic 1981 collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

Novelist Michael Chabon praised the new stories as “certifiable masterpieces of contemporary short-story art.” The reviewer for the London Financial Times called it, “A marvel,” and said, “At home in many idioms, Englander unerringly finds the right one for each of his stories…few literary works have better demonstrated their veracity lately than this glorious collection.” Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times said, “This volume showcases Mr. Englander’s extraordinary gifts as a writer… to explore how faith and family (and the stories characters tell about faith and family) ineluctably shape an individual’s identity."

Nathan EnglanderEnglander recently adapted his story, “The Twenty-seventh Man,” as a play which enjoyed an extended run at New York’s Public Theater in fall 2012. The play dramatizes the plight of twenty-six of the Soviet Union’s leading Yiddish writers (and one unknown) after they have been rounded up and put in prison by Stalin’s secret police. New York Times theatre reviewer Charles Isherwood called the play, “A first-class production…,” and said, “Englander asks potent questions about the nature of the writer’s art.”

Englander’s previous story collection was For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (1999), which received both the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, James Young called it, “An extraordinary debut collection... brilliant... hilarious... profound... a revelation of the human condition.” Englander is also the author of a novel, The Ministry of Special Cases (2007), which evokes Kafka as it explores the plight of Jews in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s “Dirty War” in the 1970s and 1980s. The Los Angeles Times reviewer called it, “A mesmerizing rumination on loss and memory, spun out with a fabulism that recalls Isaac Bashevis Singer…. Masterly.”

Englander also served as Hebrew-English translator for the much-talked-about New American Haggadah (2012), edited by Jonathan Safran Foer. The editor of the website Beliefnet.com said, “This Haggadah is simply magnificent…. It’s a translation finally worthy of sharing the page with the Hebrew. Which is so, so important for those of us who can’t engage meaningfully with the text in the original.”

Englander last visited the Writers Institute early in his career in March of 2000.

Previous Visit: March 28, 2000

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