Another semester brings another season of Stony Brook Southampton’s Writers Speak series, in which, well, writers speak.
Opening the season on September 13 will be Stony Brook Southampton’s newest additions to the core faculty. Amy Hempel is author of four short story collections, among them Reasons to Live, which contains one of the most anthologized stories of the last quarter century, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.” Her Collected Stories, published in 2006, was named a New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year. In 2017 Hempel was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow and a PEN/Malamud Award-winner for Short Fiction. To top it all off, she’s a dog enthusiast! She’ll take the stage with renowned poet Cornelius Eady, co-founder, with poet Toi Derricote, of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. Eady is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather. Among his other titles is The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; and Brutal Imagination, a finalist for the National Book Award. His poetry draws on his engagement with other art forms, including theater and mixed media work. He also plays in two musical groups, the Cornelius Eady Trio, and his full band, Rough Magic.
Of the new faculty, Julie Sheehan, director of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing program, says, “Both Cornelius and Amy bring a distinguished body of work, generous teaching, and high profiles to our program.”
Katha Pollitt, a poet, essayist and columnist for The Nation, will get behind the lectern on October 4. Pollit has won many prizes and awards, including a National Book Critics Circle award in Poetry and two National Magazine Awards. Her most recent books include a collection of essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories, a book of poetry, The Mind-Body Problem; and Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, named one of the notable books of the year by the New York Times.
On October 11, Jennifer Gilmore visits. Gilmore is the author of three novels for adults, including The Mothers, which is currently being adapted for film, starring Rachel Weisz with Gilmore executive producing; Something Red, a New York Times Notable Book; and Golden Country, also a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and a novel for teens, We Were Never Here.
Details are still emerging regarding the October 18 reading. What we know so far is that there is a new Moth book coming out soon. The Moth, launched in 1997, promotes the art and craft of storytelling and honors and celebrates the diversity and commonality of human experience. Through ongoing programs in more than 25 cities, The Moth has presented over 18,000 stories to standing-room-only crowds worldwide, and it currently produces more than 500 live shows each year. In anticipation of the book, Tara Clancy of The Moth will be reading, followed by a conversation with Catherine Burns, also of The Moth.
The season closes out on November 8 with two talented poets. Michelle Whittaker is an alumna of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Stony Brook Southampton and the author of a recently published collection, Surge. She’ll be joined by Kimiko Hahn, author of nine collections of poetry, most recently Brain Fever.
Writers Speak Wednesday receptions begin at 6:30 p.m., readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton. Call 631-632-5030, or visit stonybrook.edu/southampton for more info.