Ruth Franklin Chats with Susan Scarf Merrell at Next Writers Speak

Critic and author Ruth Franklin will be the fifth guest in the fall Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free talks and readings at Stony Brook Southampton. Franklin will read from and talk about her work with author, MFA in Creative Writing faculty member, and Southampton Writers Conference Director Susan Scarf Merrell on Wednesday, November 30, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall, following a brief reception beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Franklin is a film and literary critic who writes for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and Salmagundi as well as many other publications. A former editor at The New Republic, Franklin’s first book, published in 2011, was A Thousand Darknesses: Truth and Lies in Holocaust Fiction.

Her most recent book, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, was released in September 2016. A reviewer for The Washington Post called it a “sympathetic and masterful biography that repositions [Jackson] as a major artist whose fiction … channeled women’s nightmares and contradictions.” Her awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.

Susan Merrell

Susan Merrell, Photo: Courtesy Stony Brook Southampton

Former journalist Susan Scarf Merrell, who will be leading the discussion with Franklin, has written several books, including a nonfiction exploration of how siblings relationships affect people as adults, The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships (1997), and two works of fiction, A Member of the Family (2001) and Shirley: A Novel (2015), which takes true facts of Shirley Jackson’s life and uses them to create a fictionalized version of the 1946 disappearance of a young Bennington College student named Paula Welden.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. The evenings begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by readings at 7 p.m., and then a Q&A and book signing.

Stony Brook Southampton is located at 239 Montauk Highway in Southampton. For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit stonybrook.edu/mfa. Writers Speak is also on Facebook as Writers Speak Wednesdays; and Twitter as @WritersSpeakWed.

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