Episode 31 – Rebecca Mead in Conversation with Hanna Rosin & Margaret Talbot

Rebecca Mead (upper right), Hanna Rosin (lower left), and Margaret Talbot (lower right)

Episode 31 of the podcast brings you a reading by New Yorker Staff Writer and author Rebecca Mead discussing her book My Life in Middlemarch and engaging in a conversation about the book with the Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin and the New Yorker’s Margaret Talbot.

Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.

In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece–the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure–and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot’s biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead’s life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.

Hanna Rosin is the author of the recent book The End of Men. A senior editor at The Atlantic, she has written for The New YorkerThe New York TimesGQThe New Republic, and The Washington Post, among other publications.

Margaret Talbot has been a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where she covers culture and politics, since 2003. Her first book, The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and my Father’s Twentieth Century, recounts the story of her father’s (stage and screen actor Lyle Talbot) exceptionally long and varied career from 1931-1960.

Play

Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Episode 28: Phil Klay in Conversation with Jennifer Vanderbes

Klay (left) and Vanderbes (right) - black and white author photos

Episode 28 features a reading by Phil Klay, author of the story collection Redeployment, in conversation with novelist Jennifer Vanderbes, which took place at Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital in Washington, DC on March 14, 2014.

Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he went to Hunter College and received an MFA. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Newsweek, the Daily Beast, the New York Daily News, Tin House, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. Redeployment is his first book.

Jennifer Vanderbes is the author of the acclaimed novels Easter Island, Strangers at the Feast and, most recently, the The Secret of Raven Point which is set during World War II and explores moral ambiguities of war. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic.

Play

Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Hill Center + PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series: MK Asante in Conversation with Lisa Page

Buck - jacket photo

The next installment of the Hill Center/ PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series features award-winning writer, filmmaker, and hip-hop artist MK Asante who will read from and discuss his new book, BUCK: A Memoir. Asante will be joined in conversation by writer Lisa Page, former president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become the revered pioneer in Black Studies. A little more than a decade later MK found himself alone in North Philadelphia — his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison — forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.

A teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of Killadelphia, Asante sought refuge in the poetry of hip-hop giants — from Tupac, to Jay-Z, to Nas — and later, in the words of Kerouac, Whitman, Orwell, and even the diary of his own mother. BUCK is the unforgettable story of Asante’s rise from dealer and delinquent to writer, filmmaker, poet, and professor. It is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself with the most unconventional of teachers — outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper.

 

MK Asante author photo

MK Asante is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University. He received the Langston Hughes Award in 2009, and won the Jean Corrie Prize from the Academy of American Poets for his poetry collection Like Water Running Off My Back. Asante directed The Black Candle, a film he co-wrote with Maya Angelou, and he directed and produced the film 500 Years Later. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls Asante “a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance.”

 

 

Lisa PageLisa Page is Acting Director of Creative Writing at George Washington University and a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post Book World, Playboy, Washingtonian, Savoy and the Chicago Tribune among other publications. He essays and short stories have appeared in the anthologies, Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write About Race, Gravity Dancers, and Dream Me Home Safely. She is a regular guest on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Reader’s Review. She is a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s board of directors, and its former president.

 

What: MK Asante in Conversation with Lisa Page
When: Tue, 09/17/2013 – 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Cost: Free (Register Here)
Location: Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003 [Map

 

Note: While this event is free, you should register your attendance with Hill Center here

Episode 15: Susan Richards Shreve & Nicole Idar

Susan Shreve and Nicole Idar

In Episode 15 of the PEN/Faulkner Podcast, we present a reading by Susan Richards Shreve, author and co-chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and emerging writer Nicole Idar, a fiction writer who studied with Shreve during her time as an MFA student at George Mason University.

This event was the second-ever collaborative reading produced by PEN/Faulkner and Hill Center, and it took place on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The PEN/Faulkner / Hill Center Literary Reading Series features new and established authors alike, and the structure of this reading is a bit different. We asked the authors to introduce one another before each reads, and then they engage in conversation about their work before opening it up to audience questions.

The reading begins with opening remarks by Emma Snyder, Executive Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. 

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of fourteen novels, most recently You Are the Love of My Life and A Student of Living Things. She has written twenty-eight books for children. Shreve is the founder of the Master of Fine Arts Degree at George Mason University where she is a Professor of English, and a former President and present Co-Chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Among other honors and awards, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an NEA fellow, and a Jenny McKean Moore Fellow.

Nicole Idar grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her stories have appeared in World Literature TodayRattapallax, and The New Ohio Review, where she was a finalist for the 2009 Fiction Prize. Her first published essay won a 2012 Bethesda Magazine award. She holds an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard University. In the spring she was an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and this fall, with the support of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, she will be in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Thanks to our friends at Hill Center for making this event possible, to Amazon.com for their support, and to Benedict Kupstas, who composed the music used in this episode.

 Subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes.

Play

Hill Center / PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series: Susan Richards Shreve & Nicole Idar

Hill Center / PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series:
Susan Richards Shreve & Nicole Idar

Sunday, March 3, 2013
4 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Hill Center 

Susan Richards Shreve author photo

About the Series:

For years, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation has hosted an acclaimed reading series featuring nationally known authors at the Folger Shakespeare Library. With the launch of Hill Center/PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series last December, PEN/Faulkner expands and diversifies its literary programming by featuring established and emerging local authors at Hill Center.

Hill Center serves as a vibrant home for culture, education, and city life on Capitol Hill. Located at the rehabilitated Old Naval Hospital, the historic Civil War-era facility features an array of beautiful, light-filled rooms that retain historic detail with modern amenities, including high-tech audiovisual capabilities, accessibility, and environmentally-friendly construction. 

About the Authors:

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of fourteen novels, most recently You Are the Love of My Life and A Student of Living Things. She has written twenty-eight books for children. Shreve is the founder of the Master of Fine Arts Degree at George Mason University where she is a Professor of English, and a former President and present Co-Chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Among other honors and awards, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an NEA fellow, and a Jenny McKean Moore Fellow.

Emerging writer Nicole Idar grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her stories have appeared in World Literature Today, Rattapallax, and The New Ohio Review, where she was a finalist for the 2009 Fiction Prize. Her first published essay won a 2012 Bethesda Magazine award. She holds an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard University. In the spring she was an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and this fall, with the support of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, she will be in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Full Details:

Date:
Sunday, March 3rd
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Location: 
Benjamin Drummond Hall
Hill Center 
921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003

This event is free and open to the public, though attendees are encouraged to register here. Light refreshments will be served, and books will be available for purchase.