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What we do might be done in solitude and with great desperation, but it tends to produce exactly the opposite. It tends to produce community and in many people hope and joy.Junot Díaz, MFA 1995

The Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

Each academic year, the Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series brings poets, fiction writers, essayists, and industry professionals to campus for readings and talks.

2/4 Karen Joy Fowler and Ishion Hutchinson
3/17 Gjertrud Schnackenberg
4/7 Nicole Cliffe, Rachel Fershleiser, Halimah Marcus, and Mallory Ortberg
4/21 Denis Johnson

The Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series features readings from both emerging and established writers. In recent years it has hosted Toni Morrison, Billy Collins, Margaret Atwood, Charles Simic, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Seamus Heaney, and Jonathan Franzen, among others. The Series has also brought back former Cornell students of note, such as Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz and best-selling authors Melissa Bank, Lorrie Moore, Stewart O’Nan, and Téa Obreht. All events are free and open to the public.

To be added to the email list for announcements of upcoming readings, please send an email to creativewriting@cornell.edu.

Spring 2016 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public.

February 4th The Richard Cleaveland Memorial Reading

Karen Joy Fowler and Ishion Hutchinson
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Karen Joy Fowler, Fiction Writer
  • FowlerKaren Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. She’s written literary, contemporary, historical, and science fiction. Her first novel, Sarah Canary, won the Commonwealth Medal for the best first novel by a Californian. The Jane Austen Book Club spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list. Her most recent novel, We are all completely beside ourselves, won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award, the California Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014. She’s won two Nebula awards for her short fiction and two World Fantasy awards. Fowler, who lives in Santa Cruz, California, is the Distinguished Visiting Writer of the Department of English for the Spring 2016 Semester.

  • Ishion Hutchinson, Poet
  • HutchinsonIshion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. His poetry collection, Far District: Poems, won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. Other honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner Journal and the Academy of American Poets’ Larry Levis Prize. He is a contributing editor to the literary journal Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, and his second book of poetry, House of Lords and Commons, is forthcoming in 2016. Hutchinson is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell.

  • The Richard Cleaveland Memorial Reading was created in 2002 by family and friends of Richard Cleaveland, Cornell Class of ’74, to honor his memory.

March 17th The Robert Chasen Memorial Reading

Gjertrud Schnackenberg
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Poet
  • SchnackenbergGjertrud Schnackenberg was born in Tacoma, Washington and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College. She was later conferred an honorary degree by Mount Holyoke as well as Depauw University. Her poetry collections include The Throne of Labdacus, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, Supernatural Love: Poems 1976–1992, and Heavenly Questions, which was awarded the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2011. Her poems have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and have also been collected in many anthologies.

    Ms. Schnackenberg has won an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received two Prizes in Creative Literature from the American Academies in Rome and Berlin, and has been awarded grants from Guggenheim and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has held fellowships at St. Catherine’s College at Oxford, Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, Civitella Ranieri in Italy, and has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1996.

  • The Robert Chasen Poetry Reading is a biennial event, featuring a public reading by a distinguished poet. It was established in 1980 by Margaret Rosenzweig, Cornell Class of ’32, in memory of Robert Chasen.

April 7th Shop Talk

Nicole Cliffe, Rachel Fershleiser, Halimah Marcus, and Mallory Ortberg
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
  • The internet has changed what we read and the way we read it. Innovative editors are bringing the literary community into this new world of online publishing. Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr, Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg of The Toast, and Halimah Marcus of Electric Literature will discuss their careers and publishing ventures, and answer your questions about writing and editing for the web.

  • Nicole Cliffe, Writer and Editor, The Toast
  • CliffeNicole Cliffe is a writer and web editor who, in collaboration with her friend and colleague Mallory Ortberg, founded the cult favorite women’s humor site The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The Hairpin, The Awl, The Morning News, and McSweeney’s. She has a B.A. in English from Harvard University, and was born in Kingston, Ontario.

  • Rachel Fershleiser, Publishing Outreach, Tumblr
  • FershleiserRachel Fershleiser heads publishing outreach at Tumblr. Previously she was the community manager at Bookish and the director of public programs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where she now serves on the board of directors. She is also the co-creator of Six-Word Memoirs and co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning and three other books.

  • Halimah Marcus, Editorial Director, Electric Literature
  • MarcusHalimah Marcus is the Editorial Director of the innovative digital publisher Electric Literature, and the Editor-in-Chief of its weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading. Her writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, One Story, the Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival Fiction Committee and has a MFA from Brooklyn College.

  • Mallory Ortberg, Writer and Editor, The Toast
  • OrtbergMallory Ortberg is a writer and editor living in Oakland, California. She worked in publishing until 2013, when she and Nicole Cliffe co-founded the women’s humor site The Toast. Her first book Texts From Jane Eyre spent one month on the New York Times bestsellers list.

April 21st Reading

Denis Johnson
When: Thursday 4:30 pm
Location: Klarman Hall Auditorium, Klarman Hall
  • Denis Johnson, Writer
  • JohnsonDenis Johnson has published several works of fiction including the story collection Jesus’ Son and the novel Tree of Smoke, winner of the 2007 National Book Award. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Paris Review, O. Henry Prize Stories, and Best American Short Stories. He has also published a collection of his non-fiction, entitled Seek. Johnson’s latest novel, The Laughing Monsters, is a "literary thriller" set in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Congo.

    Johnson also writes plays, poetry, and has served as a correspondent for Spin, The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and other magazines in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Malaysia, Liberia, Somalia, Afghanistan, and northern Iraq. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Lannan Foundations. Johnson was also awarded a Medal of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became a member in 2014.

» For more information about the Spring 2016 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series, contact creativewriting@cornell.edu or call (607) 255-7847.