Author Jane Smiley to visit Centre College as Humana/Library Lecture Series speaker

Posted by Centre News in Convocation, Creative Writing, News 05 Nov 2015

smileyAward-winning novelist Jane Smiley will soon take the Newlin Hall stage in Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts as the 2015-16 Humana/Grace Doherty Library Lecture Series speaker. The author will read from her celebrated collection of works during an open convocation on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a reception and book signing in the Norton Center foyer.

Smiley, who has several honors to her name, including the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel A Thousand Acres, follows such noted authors as Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Strout and Ron Rash in the College’s library lecture series.

According to Director of Library Services Stan Campbell, this is an “extremely fortunate” opportunity for the campus.

“Jane Smiley is one of the most important living American novelists,” he explains. “She was nominated for a National Book Award just last year, has won the Pulitzer Prize, and she has written over a dozen highly acclaimed novels.”

Smiley, who grew up in Webster Groves, Mo., says much of her work engages with the American Midwest, including such noted works as Moo and A Good Horse. Her most recent novels—Some LuckEarly Warning and The Golden Age—make up her trilogy “The Last Hundred Years,” which follows an Iowa family over the course of several generations.

Critics have hailed Smiley’s novels as “brilliant,” “sweeping” and “unforgettable and profound.” In a recent review, The Guardian notes that “with the ‘The Last Hundred Years’ trilogy, [Smiley] surely confirms her place alongside Roth, Updike and Bellow as one of the great chroniclers of twentieth-century American life.”

A recipient of the PEN American Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, Smiley earned a B.A. in literature at Vassar College and later received her M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Beyond Smiley’s Nov. 9th campus convocation, the surrounding community will have opportunities to engage with the noted writer, allowing for conversation about her works.

An informal “craft talk” will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 11, where she will discuss her writing in the Grissom Reading Room in Grace Doherty Library. Later that day, the author will read and discuss her work at the Danville/Boyle County Public Library at 4 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

by Amy Clark Wise
November 5, 2015

Photography credit: Derek Shapton

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