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Summer Writer's Institute

2013 Visiting Writers

Paul Auster is one of the most celebrated writers in the country, author of many novels, including The New York Trilogy, Invisible, Sunset Park, and Man In the Dark, several of these translated into 35 languages. His work is described in the London Sunday Times as follows: “Always riveting…The combination of scrupulous style, psychological depth, story value, and parable like undertones is masterly.” A reviewer for the Washington Post Book World writes: “A philosophical novelist but also one of our most playful, a lover of narrative labyrinths on par with Borges.”

Russell Banks is the author of Cloudsplitter, Continental Drift, The Book of Jamaica, and many other works of fiction. Banks’s novels Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter (three Cannes Film Festival awards) have been made into successful feature films. His novel Rule of the Bone was praised by Cornel West as the work of “a great writer wrestling with the hidden secrets and explosive realities of this country.” The Darling is Banks’ political novel. (“Russell Banks’s twentieth-century Liberia is as hellish a place as Joseph Conrad’s nineteenth century Congo. The only creatures that behave with humanity are the apes. A dark and disturbing book,” writes Michael Ondaatje.) Banks’ latest novel (2011) is Lost Memory of Skin. Janet Maslin in the New York Times: “Destined to be a canonical novel of our time…delivers another of Banks’ wrenching, panoramic visions of American life.”

Louise Glück has won The Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Award and other major prizes for her poetry, which has appeared in many volumes including Meadowlands, Descending Figure, Vita Nova, The Wild Iris, Firstborn, Ararat and Poems 1962-2012. In recent years she has taught at Yale and at the MFA programs at Boston University and Stanford.

Jorie Graham won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for her book Dream of the Unified Field. Other volumes of her poetry include Erosion, Materialism, The Errancy, Swarm and Place. She is the Boylston Professor at Harvard University and the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Award, among many other awards. The US Poetry Foundation says that “She is perhaps the most celebrated poet of the American post-war generation.”

Tom Healy is Director of the Fulbright Foundation and a professor at New York University. He is the author of a volume of poems called What The Right Hand Knows. (Publishers Weekly: “Laconic yet passionate and sparely personal.” Huffington Post, Carol Muske-Dukes: “a poet with a clear and urgent style in poems perfectly off-beam, asymmetrical and off-balance.”)

Siri Hustvedt is the author of five novels, including The Blindfold, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl and What I Loved. She is also the author of several works of non-fiction, including The Shaking Woman (Or A History of My Nerves). Of her work Oliver Sacks has written: “Siri Hustvedt, one of our finest novelists, has long been a brilliant explorer of brain and mind,” while Salmon Rushdie describes her as “a rare artist, a writer of high intelligence, profound sensuality and a less easily definable capacity for which the only word is wisdom.” Of the novel What I Loved Janet Burroway wrote in the New York Times: “a page turner written at full intellectual stretch, serious but witty, large minded and morally engaged.” Siri Hustvedt has taught at Columbia University, Yale University and NYU, and in the spring of 2011 delivered the 39th annual Sigmund Freud Lecture in Vienna.

William Kennedy is the author of Ironweed (Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award), Quinn’s Book, Legs, The Ink Truck, Very Old Bones, Roscoe and The Flaming Corsage. Kennedy, who also wrote the film version of Ironweed (1987) and co-scripted The Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola (1986), is the winner of a MacArthur Award, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, and a New York Arts Award. He is the founding director of the New York State Writers Institute at Albany. His latest novel is Chango’s Beads And 2-Tone Shoes. New York Times Book Review, front page: “Proves he can play with both hands and improvise on a theme without losing the beat…a masterwork.”

Jamaica Kincaid is the author of many books, including Mr. Potter (described by Robert Boyers as “a perfect, perfectly heartbreaking novel”), Lucy, At The Bottom of the River, Annie John, My Brother, A Small Place, Autobiography of My Mother, and other books. Her most recent novel is See Now Then. Kincaid is described as follows in the New York Times: "She has the gift of endowing common experience with a mythic ferocity . . . She is one of our most scouringly vivid writers."

James Longenbachis the author of several acclaimed volumes of poems, including Threshold, Fleet River and The Iron Key. Edward Hirsch says of his work: “austere and beautiful…..mysteriously precise…,” while John Koethe writes: “enacts a passage, spiritual and erotic, from the promise of an imagined life to the realization that it is simply one’s own…an ear as subtle and assured as any American poet now writing.” Longenbach is also the author of five critical books, including Modern Poetry After Modernism. His poems have appeared in the New Yorker and in Best American Poems. He is the Gilmore Professor at the University of Rochester.

Joyce Carol Oates is a National Book Award winning novelist, short-story writer, poet, and critic, who has produced more than 30 novels and many books of stories, among them Blonde, We Were the Mulvaneys, Zombie, Foxfire, American Appetites, Bellefleur, The Wheel of Love, and A Garden of Earthly Delights. Walter Clemons wrote of her in Newsweek, “Like the most important writers…she has an absolute identification with her material: the spirit of a society at a crucial point in its history.” Oates, who has had two national bestsellers (Blonde and We Were the Mulvaneys), is the Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. Her recent books include A Widow’s Story: A Memoir, Missing Mom and High Lonesome.

Caryl Phillips teaches at Yale University and is the author of many books of fiction and non-fiction. Dancing In The Dark (2005) was a finalist for the National Book Award (“a devastating novel,” wrote Donna Seaman in a starred review for Booklist: "Given the drama and beauty of his writing and the freshness of his insights into both personal and social conundrums regarding race and identity, Phillips is in a league with Toni Morrison and V.S. Naipaul”). Winner of the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Phillips is the author of such works as Cambridge, The Nature of Blood, The Final Passage, A Distant Shore, and The Atlantic Sound.

Robert Pinsky was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000. Among his many books are volumes of poetry, a best-selling translation of Dante and prose books that include The Sounds of Poetry and David. In a New York Times Book Review, Katha Pollitt wrote of Pinsky’s collected poems (The Figured Wheel): “This is an extraordinarily accomplished and beautiful volume.” The reviewer for The Nation wrote: “This is the most scrupulously intelligent body of work produced by an American poet in the past 25 years.” And Louise Glück wrote of Pinsky’s Gulf Music: “An art whose scope and complexity and grandeur are rarely equaled by any of his contemporaries.”

Francine Prose is the author of many acclaimed works of fiction, including Guided Tours of Hell, Primitive People, and Bigfoot Dreams. Her novel, Blue Angel, was hailed in Publishers Weekly as “a peerlessly accomplished performance…timelessly funny,” and in Mademoiselle as a “funny yet devastating novel that will rock literary and academic worlds alike.” Prose is a contributing editor of Harper’s and writes for the New Yorker, Gentleman’s Quarterly, and Atlantic Monthly. Recent books include The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & The Artists They Inspired, Caravaggio, and A Changed Man. Other recent titles include a novel (Goldengrove) and two non-fiction books entitled Reading Like A Writer, and Anne Frank.

Marilynne Robinsonwon the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/ Faulkner Award for her novel Gilead. Her other novels include Housekeeping and Home. She is also the author of several volumes of non-fiction, including Mother Country,The Death of Adam, When I Was A Child I Read Books and Absence of Mind. She teaches at the Iowa Writers Workshop and taught at the New York State Summer Writers Institute for twenty summers.

Jane Shore is the author of many books of poetry, most recently The Said: New and Selected Poems (2012). W.S. Merwin describes her work as follows: “A poetry of etched clarity” with “a language of quiet directness, grace and exactness, clear and without affectation, but with a majestic readability.” Shore’s first volume Eye Level won the Juniper Prize, and her subsequent volumes include Music Minus One, Happy Family and A Yes Or No Answer.

Charles Simic, the recent Poet Laureate of the United States, won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for The World Doesn’t End, and is the author of many books, including Jackstraws, Night Picnic, Hotel Insomnia, A Wedding in Hell, Walking The Black Cat, Unending Blues, and Dismantling The Silence. His non-fiction books include The Uncertain Certainty, Orphan Factory, and a memoir titled A Fly In The Soup. He writes regularly on poetry and other matters for the New York Review of Books.

Mark Strandwas Poet Laureate of the United States in 1990-91 and has been the winner of many major awards, from the Pulitzer Prize (for the volume Blizzard of One) to the Bollingen Prize and the MacArthur Award. He is the author of many volumes, including Reasons for Moving, The Continuous Life, and the recent New Selected Poems. Of that most recent volume, Dan Chiasson wrote in the New Yorker: “a necessary book… Among the best work by any living poet.” The reviewer for Publishers Weekly added: “A poet who has mattered deeply to poets and readers alike.”


Barry Goldensohn is the author of three volumes of poetry, including The Listener Aspires To The Condition of Music, The Marrano and Uncarving the Block. His recent poems have appeared in the New York Review of Books, Salmagundi, Poetry, and the Yale Review.

Honor Moore is the author of an acclaimed biography entitled The White Blackbird and of the recent controversial memoir The Bishop’s Daughter. She has also written three volumes of poems, including Darling, The Red Shoes, and Memoir. Jorie Graham: “Honor Moore has written a searing exploration of exposure.” Boston Review: “Moore has a unique ability to infuse her poems with real body heat, emotional electricity, and the divine grief at the center of desire.”

Amy Wallen is the author of the novel Moon Pies and Movie Stars (“a delightful and exhilarating journey, kind of like being on a tour bus guided by Eudora Welty on speed,” writes Mary Gordon). She teaches creative writing at the University of California at San Diego.