BENNINGTON — Sixteen critically acclaimed, award-winning authors and faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars will host Writers Reading, an evening reading series during the MFA program's summer residency, which is being conducted remotely this term.
The series takes place from June 3-11. All readings are free, open to the public, and will take place virtually via Zoom. All take place at 7 p.m.
June 3: Benjamin Anastas and April Bernard. Anastas is the author of the novels "An Underachiever’s Diary" (Dial Press) and "The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance" (FSG). His memoir "Too Good to Be True" (Little A) was a national bestseller, and his short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and Yale Review, where it was awarded the annual Smart Family Prize for Fiction.
Bernard is a poet, novelist, and essayist. "Brawl & Jag," her fifth collection of poems, was recently published by W.W. Norton; previous books of poems are "Romanticism," "Swan Electric," "Psalms," and "Blackbird Bye Bye," which won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets.
June 4: Brian Blanchfield and Victoria Chang. Blanchfield is the author of three books of prose and poetry: "Proxies: Essays Near Knowing," which received a 2016 Whiting Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Gay Memoir/Biography; "Not Even Then;" and "A Several World," which was a longlist finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and the recipient of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Chang’s poetry books include "OBIT," "Barbie Chang," "The Boss," "Salvinia Molesta," and "Circle." "OBIT" was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Time best book of the year. "OBIT" received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the PEN Voelcker Award, and was longlisted for a National Book Award and named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
June 5: Jennifer Chang and Chelsea Hodson. Chang is the author of "The History of Anonymity" and "Some Say the Lark," which received the 2018 William Carlos Williams Award. She has new poems forthcoming in American Poetry Review, The Believer, Poetry Northwest, A Public Space, and the Yale Review.
Hodson is the author of the book of essays "Tonight I’m Someone Else." She is a graduate of the MFA program at Bennington College and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony and PEN Center USA Emerging Voices. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere.
June 6: Manuel Gonzales and Katy Simpson Smith. Gonzales is the author of "The Miniature Wife and Other Stories," which won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Prize for Fiction, and the novel, "The Regional Office is Under Attack!" He has published fiction and nonfiction in Buzzfeed Reader, Virginia Quarterly Review, Oxford American, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and The Believer.
Simpson Smith is the author of "We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835," and the novels "The Story of Land and Sea," "Free Men," and "The Everlasting," which the New York Times named among the Top 10 Historical Fiction of 2020. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American, Granta, and Literary Hub.
June 7: Susan Cheever and Dinah Lenney. Cheever’s most recent book "Drinking in America," a look at American History through the lens of alcoholism, was long listed for a PEN nonfiction award in 2017. Her biographies include "E.E. Cummings: A Poet’s Life," "Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography," and "American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work." She has published seven other books of nonfiction and five novels.
Lenney is the author of "Coffee" (Bloomsbury), "The Object Parade" (Counterpoint), and "Bigger than Life: A Murder, a Memoir," selected for the American Lives series by the University of Nebraska Press. She co-wrote "Acting for Young Actors" (Random House), and co-edited "Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction" with the late Judith Kitchen (W.W. Norton, 2015).
June 9: Lynne Sharon Schwartz and Peter Trachtenberg. Schwartz’s 28th book, a collection of stories called "Truthtelling," was published in October 2020. She is the author of novels, short-story collections, nonfiction, poetry, and translations. Her 2018 translation from Italian of Silvana Gandolfi’s young adult novel, "Run for Your Life," was named an honoree from the American Library Association’s Batchelder Award for children’s literature in translation.
Trachtenberg is the author of "7 Tattoos," "The Book of Calamities," and "Another Insane Devotion," a 2012 New York Times Editors’ Choice. His essays, journalism, and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, A Public Space, Bidoun, The New York Times’s travel magazine, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and Story Quarterly.
June 10: Ramona Ausubel and Amy Hempel. Ausubel is the author of the novels "Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty" and "No One Is Here Except All of Us." Her new novel "The Last Animal" is forthcoming from Riverhead. She is the winner of the PEN Center USA Fiction Award, the VCU Cabell First Novel Award and finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award.
A recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Artists Foundation, and the Academy of Arts and Letters, Hempel is the author of five collections of stories, most recently "Sing To It," published in 2019. She is also the author of "Reasons to Live," "At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom," "Tumble Home," and "The Dog of the Marriage," and is co-editor of "Unleashed."
June 11: Jenny Boully and Wayne Koestenbaum. Boully is the author of "Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life" (Coffee House Press, 2018). She is the author of five previous books, "not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them" (Tarpaulin Sky Press), "The Books of Beginnings and Endings: Essays" (Sarabande Books), "[one love affair]*" (Tarpaulin Sky Press), "of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon: a book of failures" (Coconut Books), and "The Body: An Essay" (Essay Press, first published by Slope Editions).
Koestenbaum — poet, critic, novelist, artist, performer — has published 21 books, including "The Cheerful Scapegoat," "Figure It Out," "Camp Marmalade," "My 1980s & Other Essays," "The Anatomy of Harpo Marx," "Humiliation," "Hotel Theory," "Circus," "Andy Warhol," "Jackie Under My Skin," and "The Queen’s Throat" (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award). In 2020, he received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
Writers Reading is a hallmark series of the Bennington Writing Seminars, a two-year low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program with ten-day residencies in January and June. During the Seminars, students work closely with distinguished and actively publishing faculty, their path determined by the reading discipline as well as the production of original work. The mission of the Seminars is to connect the emerging writer with much of the best that has been done and to cultivate the critical skills that serve the writing as much as the reading.