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Amy Hempel Kicks off Visiting Writers Series

By Angela Modany

Amy Hempel

This year’s Visiting Writers Series begins October 2 with award-winning short story writer Amy Hempel. The series will feature poets, writers of nonfiction and fiction, and the director of the literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Hempel has authored five collections of stories, the most recent being The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, which was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Hempel is “among the strongest voices in American Fiction.”

The LA Times also said of Hempel, who teaches at Harvard University and Bennington College, “Hers is the work of a brave, unflinching mind. . . . Her prose conveys a world stripped to its essences.”

Novelist and memoirist Paul Lisicky comes to AU on October 17. He has won a variety of awards from NEA and the Henfield Foundation and has authored two novels and one memoir. His new book, Unbuilt Projects, due to be released in October, is a hybrid of fiction, memoir, and poetry.

Ira Silverberg, NEA’s director of literature, will discuss the state of the literary arts on October 30. Silverberg was a literary agent, editor, and publisher for more than 25 years before he joined the endowment in 2011. The series ends the semester with poet Eduardo C. Corral, who won the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize.

The spring portion of the Visiting Writers Series includes the annual faculty benefit reading at Politics and Prose, writers Ted Conover and Hannah Pylvainen, and poets Ishion Hutchinson and Valzhyna Mort, who received her MFA in creative writing from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Literature.

The series ends in May 2013 with readings from the graduates of AU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing.