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Clare Beams, Bard Fiction Prize winner and writer in residence at Bard College, will read from recent work on Monday, February 24. This event is free and open to the public. The reading begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Reem-Kayden Center’s László Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium at Bard College. For more information call 845-758-7087.
Beams received the Bard Fiction Prize for her debut collection of short stories, We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books 2016). Her newest book, The Illness Lesson (Doubleday 2020), will be released on February 11. Beams’ residency at Bard College is for the fall 2020 semester, during which time she will continue her writing and meet informally with students.
The Bard Fiction Prize committee writes: “The nine stories in Clare Beams’ debut collection of fiction, We Show What We Have Learned, range from factual, historical settings and characters to eerily fantastical ones, displaying a startling depth and an epic scale of imagination. While the characters, and the situations they find themselves in, are sometimes surreal, their psychologies are always absolutely real—fully, compassionately drawn. Every one of these stories has a world and a lifetime behind it, and every one is a compelling, disquieting, and immensely pleasurable journey, reverie, and dream for its reader. Clare Beams is a subtle, quiet master of short fiction, who writes in beautiful and exquisitely crafted prose.”
“I am so much more grateful to Bard and to the Bard Fiction Prize committee than I can possibly say for this recognition of my work and for this gift—one of the best gifts anyone could give me, as a writer who’s also a parent of young children—of time. To join this list of winners, so many who are heroes and heroines of mine, is an honor, and to join the inspiring Bard community is a thrill. I can’t wait to meet the students and faculty and work on my third book, a new novel, in their midst,” says Beams.
Clare Beams is the author of the story collection We Show What We Have Learned, which was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016 and a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. Her first novel, The Illness Lesson, will be published by Doubleday in February of 2020. Her fiction appears in One Story, n+1, Ecotone, The Common, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere, and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two daughters, and has taught creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and St. Vincent College.
The creation of the Bard Fiction Prize, presented each October since 2001, continues Bard’s long-standing position as a center for creative, groundbreaking literary work by both faculty and students. From Saul Bellow, William Gaddis, Mary McCarthy, and Ralph Ellison to John Ashbery, Philip Roth, William Weaver, and Chinua Achebe, Bard’s literature faculty, past and present, represents some of the most important writers of our time. The prize is intended to encourage and support young writers of fiction, and provide them with an opportunity to work in a fertile intellectual environment. Last year’s Bard Fiction Prize was awarded to Greg Jackson for his short story collection Prodigals (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2016).
Valeria Luiselli, the Sadie Samuelson Levy Professor in Languages and Literature at Bard College, was honored with the 2020 American Library Association Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her novel Lost Children Archive. Luiselli is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction whose books are forthcoming and/or published in more than 20 languages. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2019.
The Paris Review Foundation has announced the appointment of Mona Simpson as the magazine’s new publisher. Simpson, a Guggenheim Fellow and NEA Award–winning author of six novels, began her involvement with the Paris Review as a work-study student in Columbia’s MFA program. She has served on the staff as a senior editor in the past, and has been a member of the board of directors and the editorial committee since 2014.
Daniel Mendelsohn, Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, was announced to the longlist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, for his collection Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones. The award carries a prize of $10,000.
Distinguished Writer in Residence Dawn Lundy Martin is among the judges for the PEN Open Book Award. Bard alumnus Pierre Joris ’69 is one of the judges of the Award for Poetry in Translation.
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