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ZZ Packer
ZZ Packer

Fiction writer hailed by O: The Oprah Magazine as a

Thursday, February 26, 2004
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center


ZZ Packer is enjoying the sort of debut that every author wishes for. She has been hailed as a new young star of American literature in a wide range of publications, from the New Yorker to Glamour. She has even been the subject of photo spreads in O, Vogue and Entertainment Weekly.


Packer’s first book is Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (2003), a collection of eight stories, most of them about the lives of modern-day black teenage girls. Many are set in the South. The title story features a Yale freshman who experiences isolation as a black student until she meets another girl, a white fellow-misfit. Brownies is the story of an encounter between a black girl scout troop and another troop composed of mentally handicapped white girls. Speaking in Tongues tells the tale of a 14-year-old runaway who becomes the target of a likable pimp in Atlanta.

Many of the stories in the book first appeared in the New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and in "The Best American Stories 2000." The stories also helped Packer win a prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere"Well-wrought, poignant and surprising, the gritty grace of this book signals twenty something Packer is a writer to watch." - The Baltimore Sun

"[Packer] has a commanding sense of character and setting… and often thrilling use of language and style." - The San Francisco Chronicle

"Packer’s stories, by turns astringent, brutally honest and sometimes funny, offer readers slices of life." - USA Today

"Brilliant prose. Unforgettable characters. . . ." Marie Claire

ZZ Packer was born in Chicago and grew up in Atlanta and Louisville, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Yale, the writing seminar at Johns Hopkins, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has held Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University. She has also taught at both Iowa and Stanford.

ZZ Packer is currently working on a first novel about the adventures of the Buffalo Soldiers, all-black military units stationed in the West after the Civil War.

Additional Links:
Writers Online
Magazine Article

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