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Tom Perrotta
Tom Perrotta

Author of masterpieces of satirical fiction set in the American suburbs,
discusses his new novel The Leftovers

NYS Writers Institute, November 29, 2011
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

Tom Perrotta, novelist whose previous novels include, Little Children (2004), a New York Times and NPR “Best Book of 2004”; Joe College (2000), Election (1998) and The Wishbones (1997) will discuss his newest novel, The Leftovers (2011) at 8:00 p.m.,Thursday, November 29, 2011, in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center on the uptown campus. Earlier that same day the author will offer an informal seminar at 4:15 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.


Tom Perrott
a writes biting satires about suburban life and adolescent experience. His newest novel is The Leftovers (2011), which poses the question: What would happen if the New Testament ‘Rapture’ actually took place, and millions of people disappeared, leaving millions of others behind?

In a rave review that appeared on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, bestselling author Stephen King called Perrotta, “a novelist who is to the suburban enclaves of America what Sherwood Anderson was to Ohio,” and said, “Perrotta has delivered a troubling disquisition on how ordinary people react to extraordinary and inexplicable events, the power of family to hurt and to heal, and the unobtrusive ease with which faith can slide into fanaticism. The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw.”

The LeftoversPerrotta’s previous novel was The Abstinence Teacher (2007), a foray into the world of public school sex education. Kirkus Reviews called the book, “Ruefully humorous and tenderly understanding of human folly; the most mature, accomplished work yet from this deservedly bestselling author.” The novel was optioned for a film to be directed by the team behind the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Perrotta’s previous novels include Little Children (2004), a New York Times and NPR “Best Book of 2004”; Joe College (2000), Election (1998) and The Wishbones (1997). Perrotta is also the author of a story collection, Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies (1994). The tale of a bitterly fought election for High School Class President, Election (1998) became a hit 1999 movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, and earned both Perrotta and co-screenwriter Jim Taylor an Oscar nomination for “Best Screenplay.” Publishers Weekly called the book, “A convincing portrait of a time of life, illuminating all the profound cruelty and tenderness of adolescence.”

Little Children (2004) follows the course of an adulterous affair between a stay-at-home mom and a stay-at-home dad who meet on the playground of a prosperous American suburb. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Will Blythe said, “What a wicked joy it is to welcome Little Children, Tom Perrotta’s extraordinary novel...a sterling comic contribution... at once suspenseful, ruefully funny and ultimately generous...What is Tom Perrotta but an American Chekov whose characters even at their most ridiculous seem blessed and ennobled by a luminous human aura?”

Perrotta shared a second Oscar nomination with director Todd Field for their 2006 screen adaptation of Little Children. The film version starred Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson. Writing in the Guardian (UK), Philip French called it, “a sharply observed and brilliantly acted study of American suburban life.”

Previous Visit: November 29, 2007

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