Visiting Writers Series

Jennifer Robertson on 09.22.15

New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) is pleased to announce the kickoff event for their 2015-16 Visiting Writers Series. On September 28, NHIA will host essayist, literary critic, and editor Sven Birkerts. The evening will start with a wine and cheese reception at 5-6pm after which Birkerts will give a reading and answer questions. The reception and reading are free and open to the public.

Birkerts is the author of eight books ranging from poetry, to craft, to essay. His latest is the forthcoming Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age, which Graywolf Press will release in early October. He is best known for his now-classic The Gutenberg Elegies, widely acknowledged to be ahead of its time in its examination of the threat to reading brought about by the rise of the Internet. In his new book, Birkerts revisits this issue in light of today’s intensified online media and fragmented attention spans, asking how art might survive--and perhaps be all the more necessary--under such conditions. 

Birkerts is the director for Bennington College’s Master of Fine Arts program, and the editor of the literary journal AGNI. He has received many prestigious awards, including a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Award for the Best Book of Essays, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The NHIA Visiting Writer Series provides an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and the community to meet nationally renowned writers in an open forum that is both social and interactive. Every event is free and open to the public so that anyone who has a love of reading and writing has the opportunity to engage with these highly talented writers and hear excerpts from their latest work.

Visiting Writer Series 2015-16 Schedule:

October 15: Darcie Dennigan and Franny Choi

Darcie Dennigan was a 2007 Discovery/The Nation winner; her other awards include the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America and a Rhode Island State Council of the Arts Poetry Fellowship.

Franny Choi is a VONA Fellow, Project VOICE teaching artist, and member of the Dark Noise Collective. Her poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, PANK and many other publications. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has been a finalist at the three largest adult poetry slams in the country.

November 18: Megan Mayhew Bergman

Bergman has two collections of short stories, Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women, both critically acclaimed. The first collection is rooted in the relationship between the human and animal world, and almost every story incorporates animals in both literal and figurative capacities to explore her understanding of human behavior and relationships. In the more recent Almost Famous Women, Bergman takes actual historical women who were pushed to the margins either by the individuals in their lives or by historical circumstance and usually some combination. She places the spotlight squarely on them without glamorizing or airbrushing their faults and complexities.

February 25: Valeria Luiselli

Luiselli has been getting a great deal of attention as she prepares to release her second novel in the United States, Story of My Teeth. The novel focuses on an auctioneer who auctions off the teeth of famous writers and thinkers, from Plato to Virginia Woolf, it was written collaboratively with workers at Grupo Jumex, a juice factory in Mexico. Originally, it was commissioned as part of the catalog for an exhibition at the Museo Jumex, which is one of Mexico City's most exciting spaces for contemporary art. It was written originally as a serial novel to be read by a "tobacco reader" at the juice factory to the employees to make the workday more interesting, which is a tradition that is still common in Cuba and elsewhere, according to the afterword in Luiselli's book, which is a hilarious romp, brilliant and utterly unique.

March 22:  Adam Clay

Adam Clay is the author of A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). A third book of poems, Stranger, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, Boston Review, Iowa Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere.

April 11: Matt Bell

Bell's first novel was the acclaimed In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, which is a poetic, magical realist story of a relationship that incorporates a squid and a bear and a mysteriously shifting house, among its various weird elements. His latest novel, Scrapper, is much more rooted in gritty realism; it tells the story of a "scrapper" in a slightly-altered but recognizable Detroit, who reclaims scrap metal from abandoned buildings, and in so doing, winds up saving a kidnapped boy. The book has already received a starred review from Library Journal and is sure to garner many more raves. 

All events are held at NHIA, 148 Concord St, Manchester, NH and are free and open to the public.