March 2016 Archways

ARTS AND CULTURE

Author, Author

From left: authors Lisa Scottoline and Jennifer Weiner

From left: authors Lisa Scottoline and Jennifer Weiner

In December, a large crowd filled Thomas Great Hall to hear two of Philadelphia’s most prominent authors, Lisa Scottoline and Jennifer Weiner (left), chat for more than an hour with WHYY Radio Times host Marty Moss-Coane. They discussed their lives and careers, their writing processes and their latest books, and the publishing industry and sexism.

“I loved it,” said Kieres Regensburg ‘16, one of the 40 Bryn Mawr students able to attend the WHYY fund-raising event free of charge. “It was a great study break for finals. I’m taking an English course right now that focuses on gender issues in literature so I was able to connect my classroom work with what they were talking about.”

The conversation was lighthearted and at times uproariously funny but not without its serious moments. Weiner, in particular, has been a leading voice in trying to persuade reviewers to treat women authors with the same respect they accord their male peers.

“We’re finally seeing literary women get the kind of attention literary men do,” she said in reply to a question about the topic and her longstanding feud with novelist Jonathan Franzen. “I think they should cover Mary Gaitskill the same way they cover him.”

A New York Times best-selling author and Edgar Award-winner, Scottoline is best known for her legal thrillers, among them her most recent book, Corrupted. Weiner, also a New York Times bestselling author, has published 11 books; her most recent novel is Who Do You Love?

 

Novel Takes Off

9_ARCHWAYS_Torday

Associate Professor of English Daniel Torday has been named the winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for fiction for his debut novel The Last Flight of Poxl West.

Published in March 2015, the book received a glowing review in the New York Times and made the cover of the Times’ Sunday Book Review. The book was also named one of 2015’s best debut books by Amazon.com.

Torday is the director of Bryn Mawr’s Creative Writing Program. His novella, The Sensualist, won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. His stories and essays have appeared in Esquire, Glimmer Train, n+1, the New York Times, and the Paris Review Daily. A former editor at Esquire, Torday serves as an editor at The Kenyon Review.

As the longest-running North American awards program in the field of Jewish literature, the National Jewish Book Awards are designed to recognize outstanding books of Jewish interest. The honor is awarded in 18-20 individual categories.

 

 

Colson Whitehead Talks Writing and Donna Summer

By Zubin Hill ’17

Photo credit: Frank Wojciechowksi

Photo credit: Frank Wojciechowksi

It was standing room only on Wednesday, Feb.3, as more than 100 people packed Goodhart Theater’s Music Room for a reading from acclaimed author Colson Whitehead.

In introducing Whitehead, Creative Writing Program Director Daniel Torday quoted TIME magazine’s Walter Kirn, who called Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, “The freshest racial allegory since Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.”

“I usually spend Thursday nights in my apartment, weeping with regret. So this is a nice change of pace,” joked Whitehead as he took to the podium.

For the next hour, Whitehead entertained with a breezy often sardonic discussion of topics ranging from his beginning at the Village Voice—“the thing about the Voice was, whenever you were there was its heyday and whenever you left was its decline”—to how a career as a writer allowed him to finally understand Donna Summer’s version of “MacArthur Park.”

“This song poses an enigma. Who left the cake out and why?…It wasn’t until I got all the rejection letters that I understood it,” said Whitehead, who went on to jokingly intone the song’s lyrics. “I don’t think that I can take it. It took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again.”

Whitehead ended his time onstage by reading one of his essays and with a discussion of his tips on how to write.

Among the 11 rules on how to write are nuggets like rule number 2: “Don’t go searching for your subject, let your subject find you…. Once your subject finds you, it’s like falling in love. It will be your constant companion. Shadowing you, peeping in your windows, calling you at all hours to leave messages like, ‘Only you understand me.’”

 

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