by Christine Baksi
Acclaimed fiction writer Lorrie Moore has been named as the 2014-15 recipient of Dickinson's Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program award. Moore will accept the Stellfox award and will present a public reading, followed by a book signing, on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium, 360 West Louther Street. The community also is invited to a Q-and-A with Moore on Friday, Nov. 7, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, located on the first floor of Old West, 230 West Louther Street.
Moore is the author of three novels, including her most recent, A Gate at the Stairs, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner and the Orange Prize. Her story collections include Self-Help, Like Life and Birds of America, which The Times Literary Supplement called, “one of the most highly regarded collections of the 1990s.” Her most recent story collection, Bark, was released earlier this year.
“Moore’s pitch-perfect sentences, razor wit and deftness of phrase awaken new possibilities of language, often making us laugh even as they plumb the depths of life’s strangeness,” says Adrienne Su, associate professor of English and poet-in-residence at Dickinson. “Alongside masterful characterization and narrative timing, Moore also has a poet’s eye for image and metaphor.”
Moore’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories and more. She has been the recipient of The Irish Times Prize for International Literature, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the PEN/Malamud Award and the O. Henry Award. She also has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Lannan Foundation.
She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has taught at Cornell University, the University of Michigan, New York University, Princeton University, Baruch College and for 29 years at the University of Wisconsin. She is currently the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor at Vanderbilt University. “Lorrie’s the most influential short-story writer working in America and has been for the last 20 years,” says Tony Earley, the Samuel Milton Fleming Chair in English at Vanderbilt.
The Stellfox Visiting Scholars and Writers Program is supported by a gift from Jean Louise Stellfox, a 1960 graduate of Dickinson who was inspired to become an English teacher after meeting Robert Frost during the poet’s visit to the college in 1959. When Stellfox died in 2003, her estate provided $1.5 million to the college to continue her mission of inspiring students by bringing renowned literary figures to campus. Stellfox named the program in honor of her parents, Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox.
Moore joins an illustrious group of previous Stellfox writers, including three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee; Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo; Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Rita Dove and Paul Muldoon; Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang; and Booker Prize-winning authors Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood. Each Stellfox writer serves a weeklong residency that unites students across disciplines for energized workshops and informal meetings.
“The residency gives students the chance to interact with a major contemporary author in both classroom and social settings, and to talk with her about many aspects of the writing life,” says Su. “As Jean Stellfox knew, such experience is invaluable for students, in addition to reading and discussing an author’s work.”
Published September 24, 2014