Friday, April 11, 2014

Lydia Davis Interviewed on NPR


Lydia Davis, Writers Institute Writing Fellow who will be the featured guest at RPI's 73rd Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading (Wed., April 16, free and open to the public) was interviewed last week by NPR's Rachel Martin.

More about Lydia's appearance at Rensselaer:

From Rachel Martin's interview:

On the moment when she realized that she didn't need to write long to write well
I can date that pretty precisely to the fall of 1973. So I was 26 years old and I had just been reading the short stories or the prose poems of Russell Edson. And for some reason, I was sparked by those. I thought, "These are fun to read, and provocative and interesting, and I'd like to try this." So I set myself the challenge of writing two very short stories every day just to see what would happen.

On how she knows when to end a story
I think I have a sense right in the beginning of how big an idea it is and how much room it needs, and, almost more importantly, how long it would sustain anybody's interest. And that's sometimes been a problem with a story when it's sort of offered me two ways that it could go, and I have to choose one or the other.

More on the NPR website:

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Lynne Tillman's New Book in the New Yorker

What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (April 2014) is a new collection of essays and criticism by UAlbany English Professor Lynne Tillman.

Here's a profile of Tillman from the introduction to the new book by Irish writer Colm Tóibín posted on the New Yorker blog:

"She was wearing black; she had a glass of whiskey on the rocks in her hand. Her delivery was dry, deadpan, deliberate. There was an ironic undertow in her voice, and a sense that she had it in for earnestness, easy emotion, realism. She exuded a tone which was considered, examined and then re-examined. She understood, it seemed to me, that everything she said would have to be able to survive the listeners’ intelligence and sense of irony; her own intelligence was high and refined, her sense of irony knowing and humorous. I had not come across anyone like her before...."


Here's a review from Bookforum:

I’ve long admired Lynne Tillman’s criticism. Her writing is founded on curiosity and deep feeling. It’s precise and imaginative, devoid of jargon or cliché. It’s the opposite of what I dislike in criticism, and I know I’m not alone in my appreciation of what she does. “What she does” is hard to pinpoint, though, and the title of her new collection is a good-natured fake-out for all of us who might look to her as a model for how to live—or just how to write.


And here's some assorted praise:

"Lynne Tillman has always been a hero of mine — not because I 'admire' her writing, (although I do, very, very much), but because I feel it. Imagine driving alone at night. You turn on the radio and hear a song that seems to say it all. That's how I feel...:" — Jonathan Safran Foer

"Lynne Tillman's writing is bracing, absurd, argumentative, and luminous. She never fails to exhibit her unique capacities for watchfulness and astonishment." — Jonathan Lethem

"Like an acupuncturist, Lynne Tillman knows the precise points in which to sink her delicate probes. One of the biggest problems in composing fiction is understanding what to leave out; no one is more severe, more elegant, more shocking in her reticences than Tillman." — Edmund White

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Francesca Marciano in Lina Wertmuller's "Seven Beauties"


Friday's guest Francesca Marciano starred in a number of Italian films prior to achieving success as a fiction writer and screenwriter.

Her credits include the virgin Carolina [pictured here, billed as "Francesca Marciani"] in Lina Wertmüller's outrageous 1975 film Seven Beauties, which was nominated for four Oscars.

Other film roles include the second-billed "Francesca" in Pupi Avati's The House of the Laughing Windows (1976) and Tutti defunti... tranne i morti (1977); and the Italian TV miniseries, La riva di Charleston (1978).

More about Marciano:

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Julia Glass on Francesca Marciano

Last week's guest, National Book Award winner Julia Glass [pictured here], contributes a praise blurb to this Friday's guest's new story collection, The Other Language:

“I loved every single one of these affecting, suspenseful, and sublimely crafted stories. It’s clear that Francesca Marciano is worldly as well as wise, yet what she’s surprisingly insightful about is the hazardous nature of worldliness itself. Because our modern lives are so mobile, our ways of communicating so refined, we risk coming to believe that the borders defining class, culture, and gender are somehow more permeable. Think again, she tells us in these nine cautionary tales—the best new collection I’ve read in years.” —Julia Glass

Francesca Marciano visits tomorrow:

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The Other Language in Oprah's O. magazine

Amy Fine Collins of O. magazine reviews the new story collection by Francesca Marciano who visits Albany tomorrow:

“Seductive, cosmopolitan . . . In The Other Language, romance is the cure for ennui. Marciano’s heroines take the kind of risks most of us have been conditioned to avoid: they reconnect with lost lovers, migrate to faraway lands, and forge liaisons beyond the bounds of their race, culture, and class. Marciano is an apt guide to these exotic lives, [and] she engages us intimately with them . . . Frustrated communication is a recurrent theme, as is the quest for the elusive person or place that allows one to feel at home. In Marciano’s nuanced emotional universe, a foreigner is likely to consider herself an outsider, no matter how long she’s lived elsewhere—especially if she still dreams in her mother tongue.”

More about Marciano's visit:

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Francesca Marciano on the Pantheon Blog

Francesca Marciano, Italian fiction author who writes in English (except for major award-nominated screenplays, which she writes in Italian), talks about her new story collection, The Other Language, on the Pantheon Books blog.

What is your experience with “other languages”? What, do you think, happens to you when you speak a language not your native one?
The book’s epigraph is from a Derek Walcott poem: “To change your language you must change your life.” Learning a new language is an act of transformation; it means delving into another logic, a new mental construct. We become different people when we speak another language, and that can be exciting, rejuvenating—but often frightening, a bit like walking in the dark. In some way by speaking a new language we commit an act of betrayal towards our mother tongue, our past identity. But we also sometimes can, in moving beyond our comfort zones, find a new kind of freedom, and I think a writer can find great freedom in a language that is not his or her own.
Marciano visits the Writers Institute on Friday, April 11th:
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Happy Reading, The NYS Writers Institute Staff.

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"Honey" film reviewed in the LA Times

Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times reviews the new Italian film Honey [Miele], coscripted by Francesca Marciano, who visits the Writers Institute to talk about the film (an official selection at Cannes) this coming Friday:

Whether she's trysting with her married lover or helping other people die, the title character of Honey is a fascinating and complex figure, and Jasmine Trinca inhabits the role with a detached intensity that's thoroughly compelling.

The Italian film — the assured feature-directing debut by actress Valeria Golino, still best known to American audiences for Rain Man — achieves the rare feat of addressing euthanasia head-on without devolving into a dramatized treatise or a button-pushing issue movie.

More in the L. A. Times:,0,2797373.story#axzz2yPD5PNdZ

More about our events with Francesca Marciano:

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