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Julie Orringer, photo by Christa ParravaniJulie Orringer
Fiction Writer

Karen Russell, photo by Michael LionstarKaren Russell
Fiction Writer


NYS Writers Institute, February 10, 2011
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Critically-acclaimed first-time novelists Julie Orringer, bestselling author of The Invisible Bridge (2010), a tale of the Holocaust, and Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! (2011), set in a “gator wrestling” roadside attraction, will read from and discuss their work on Thursday, February 10, 2011 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 authors will present an informal seminar in the same location. Sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, the events are free and open to the public.


Young, critically-acclaimed, first-time novelists Julie Orringer and Karen Russell will offer a joint reading under the sponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute.

Julie Orringer, two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize for her short stories, is the author of the debut novel and surprise bestseller, The Invisible Bridge (2010), the tale of a Hungarian Jewish architecture student and his experiences during the Holocaust. The novel was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2010 by the New York Times. Michael Chabon said, “To bring an entire lost world—its sights, its smells, its heartaches, raptures and terrors—to vivid life between the covers of a novel is an accomplishment; to invest that world, and everyone who inhabits it, with a soul, as Julie Orringer does… takes something more like genius.” Writing in the New York Times, Janet Maslin called it, “Evocative, exquisitely precise, rapturous,” and said, “The horrors of war never become Ms. Orringer’s primary subject. She devotes far more attention to conveying the intricacies of Jewish life . . . writing with both granddaughterly reverence and commanding authority.”

Orringer is also the author of the critically-acclaimed story collection, How to Breathe Underwater (2003), a collection of nine stories about young people trapped in painful situations. Donna Seaman writing in Booklist said, “Radiant in their explicit sensory descriptions… Orringer’s unnerving and fiercely beautiful stories delve to the very core of life’s mysteries.”

Karen RussellKaren Russell, fiction writer and Miami native, was featured in New York magazine’s “25 People to Watch Under the Age of 26,” and was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young Novelists. She is the author of the first novel, Swamplandia! (2011), the story of Ava Bigtree, a 12-year-old girl whose family owns a “gator wrestling” roadside attraction in the Florida Everglades. In a starred review, Booklist praised the book as, “Lavishly imagined and spectacularly crafted…. Ravishing, elegiac, funny, and brilliantly inquisitive….” Bestselling novelist and fellow Floridian Carl Hiaasen said, “I was dazzled. It’s very rare… to come across a young novelist so inventive and versatile, yet so thoroughly in control.”

Swamplandia!Russell previously published a collection of fantastical fables set in the marshes of Florida, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006). In advance praise, novelist Gary Shteyngart said, “Hallelujah! Karen Russell’s work sweeps the ground from beneath your feet and replaces it with something new and wondrous, part Florida swampland, part holy water. A confident, auspicious, unforgettable debut.” In a People magazine review, Lauren Gallo called Russell “a storyteller with a voice like no other,” and added, “Laced with humor and compassion, Russell’s work has the charm of children’s literature adapted for adults.”

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