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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Speakers 2010/2011

October 2010:  Sam Tanenhaus

The New York Times Book Review editor speaks on "Does the Novel Still Matter?"

Sam Tanehaus in the Joynes Library  

Sam Tanehause, editor of the New York Times Book Review

    Tanehaus & Katherine Kling

Sam Tanehause and Plan II student/Dedman Scholar, Katherine Kling

Photos by Matt Valentine, Oct 2010 in the Joynes Library. 

"My favorite exchange of the afternoon began when [Plan II student] Jillian Owens asked Sam to respond to the criticism "book reviewers are failed writers who have nothing original to contribute."

Tanenhaus's rejoinder: "Well sure. I'd say there's some truth in that. But most writers are failed writers, too. There's very little genius apportioned."




















October 2010:  Stuart Schoffman, Former Anti-Defamation League Fellow in Jerusalem

Stuart Schoffman has lived in Jerusalem since 1988, and writes and lectures widely on Israeli and Jewish affairs.  He is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and editor of Havruta: A Journal of Jewish Conversation.  He served as a columnist and book critic at the Jerusalem Report from the magazine’s inception in 1990 until 2007, and writes regularly for several major Jewish newspapers in the United States.  His translations from Hebrew include books by the Israeli authors David Grossman, A.B. Yehoshua, and Meir Shalev.  Before moving to Israel, Stuart wrote for Time magazine, worked as a Hollywood screenwriter, and taught history at UT and film at USC. 
He has taught American history at the University of Texas and film at the University of Southern California and Tel Aviv University. A native of Brooklyn, Stuart is a graduate of Harvard and Yale.

Brought to by the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, Plan II Honors and the Mary Lu Joynes Endowment.


February 2011:  Lunch with Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger, author of “Friday Night Lights”


Buzz Bissinger won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism and is the author of three highly acclaimed nonfiction books: “Friday Night Lights” (the inspiration for the movie and TV series), “A Prayer for the City” and “Three Nights in August.” Buzz has been a reporter for some of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers; a magazine writer with published work in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated; and a co-producer and writer for the ABC television drama NYPD Blue. With LeBron James, Bissinger recently co-authored the book “Shooting Stars,” a memoir of LeBron’s childhood experiences with basketball.

February 2011:  Panel Discussion: “Documenting the Environment”


Featuring three prominent documentary photographers who will show slides of their work and discuss the context, technique and motivations behind their projects. The panel will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience and a reception with refreshments.

Kael Alford is a Dallas-based photojournalist who has been recently documenting the gulf coast of Louisiana and the environmental damage there in the wake of both natural and man-made disasters. Alford was in Baghdad when the US Invasion of Iraq began in 2003, and she traveled throughout the region documenting the war. With three colleagues, she published the 2005 book “Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq.”

Jeff Brouws is the author of seven books including his most recent “Approaching Nowhere,” published by W. W. Norton in 2006. His photographs can be found in major private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, Harvard’s Fogg Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, and the Henry Art Museum. He has instigated an all-encompassing photographic investigation of decimated inner cities: abandoned manufacturing sites, low-income housing, and other commercial ruins – residual public spaces left behind by the effects of de-industrialization, white flight, disinvestment, failed urban policy and overall societal neglect.

In addition to her successful work as an architectural, corporate and commercial photographer, Longview-based Tammy Cromer-Campbell has exhibited documentary and fine art photography throughout the country. Her book “Fruit of the Orchard” (University of North Texas Press, 2006) documents the community of Winona, Texas, as it was affected by a toxic waste facility that operated there.

February 2011, Paul Lisicky, novelist, memoirist and poet

Paul Lisicky will read from and discuss his writing at 7:30PM in the Joynes Reading Room. Lisicky is a novelist, memoirist and poet whose work across genres includes the novel Lawnboy, his memoir Famous Builder, and the forthcoming books The Burning House (2011) and Unbuilt Projects (2012). Married to the poet Mark Doty, he lives in New York City and Springs, New York, and has taught in the graduate writing programs at Cornell University, Rutgers-Newark, and Sarah Lawrence College. He currently teaches at NYU. 

An Evening with Stephen Scobie

Visiting Canadian poet Stephen Scobie is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and criticism, and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria. He will share recent work inspired by the American folk singer Bob Dylan, and by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, author of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”

Growing Up in Texas

In collaboration with the Austin Center for Photography, the Joynes Reading Room will host a panel discussion with four outstanding photographers. The theme of the panel will be “Growing Up in Texas.” The University of Texas Press has provided some free copies of coffee table books by two of these photographers—we’ll be giving away those books at the event.

Penny De Los Santos is an award-winning documentary photographer recognized for her evocative photo essays and food, travel, and landscape photography. Once named College Photographer of Year by the National Press Photographer’s Association, she now works as a senior contributing photographer to Saveur magazine and is a regular contributor to National Geographic.

Susan Gaetz Duarte is an editorial and documentary photographer based in Austin. Her images have appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic, the Denver Post, and the Dallas Morning News. She is co-author of the book “The Quiet Land: Mennonites in Texas,” published by Texas A&M Press.

O. Rufus Lovett is a nationally acclaimed photographer. His first book, “Weeping Mary,” received the prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Outstanding Magazine Photography. His second book, “Kilgore Rangerettes,” was published in 2008 by University of Texas Press. Lovett has taught photography at Kilgore College, in Kilgore, Texas, for more than three decades, and is a regular contributing photographer to Texas Monthly. He lives in Longview, Texas.

After graduating from St. Edwards University, Jeff Wilson worked as a documentary photographer at the Texas House of Representatives and as a Forensic Photographer at the Texas Department of Public Safety. More recently, he won a National Magazine Award for his work on dance halls for Texas Monthly. His book “Home Fields” was published recently by the University of Texas Press.

Crude Truths: How a writer tells compelling stories about oil and war


Peter Maass, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, has reported for years from the world’s warzones and oilfields, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. The award-winning author of “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil” and “Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War,” Maass will discuss the reasons and ways he writes about natural resources and global conflict. Maass is known for his narrative story-telling—using the language and pacing of fiction to write compelling non-fiction stories about the real world. He will explain the ways today’s journalists can make Americans pay attention to complicated problems beyond our borders.

Poetry Reading: Bill Berkson


San Francisco poet Bill Berkson will read in the Joynes Room. Publisher’s Weekly calls him “a serene master of the syntactical sleight, transforming the mundane in the marvelous.” The first five honors students to inquire at the Joynes Reading Room front desk will receive a free copy of Berkson’s most recent book.

Joynes Event:  Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrite

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ROBERT SCHENKKAN was born in Chapel Hill, N. Carolina but grew up in Austin, Texas. As a Plan II Honors student he received a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas at Austin (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, and Friars' Society) and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts (Acting) from Cornell University.  

UT/Plan II alumnus Robert Schenkkan won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play The Kentucky Cycle. He'll return to Austin to give a presentation in the Joynes Reading Room and to participate in Plan II's 75th anniversary celebration. Schenkkan will discuss scenes he wrote for the HBO miniseries The Pacific (for which he received two Emmy nominations). Actors from the UT Drama department will read a scene from Schenkkan's new play, Docent. The playwright will discuss the differences between writing for the stage and writing for the screen.


(from Robert Schenkkan's website)

Schenkkan is the author of ten full-length plays. The Kentucky Cycle was the  result of several years of development, starting in NYC at New Dramatists and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. The two part epic was later work shopped at the Mark Taper Forum, EST-LA, the Long Wharf Theatre, and the Sundance Institute. The complete "cycle" was awarded the largest grant ever given by the Fund for New American Plays and had its world premier in 1991 at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle (Liz Huddle, producer) where it set box office records. In 1992, it was the centerpiece of the Mark Taper forum's 25th Anniversary Season. There it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the first time in the history of the award that a play was so honored which had not first been presented in NYC. It also won both the PEN Centre West and the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. In 1993 it appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and opened on Broadway in November of that year where it was nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards.

Schenkkan has produced numerous award-winning plays, including two works for children and several one-acts.  His
film work includes: The Quiet American directed by Phillip Noyce. For television he wrote the miniseries Crazy Horse (TNT), Spartacus (USA NETWORD) and The Andromeda Strain. He has written films for Sidney Pollack, Oliver Stone, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, and Kevin Costner among others. He is currently writing a film, The Rules, for Dreamworks, and is a writer/producer for Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks and HBO’s epic miniseries, The Pacific.

Schenkkan is the recipient of grants from New York State, the California Arts Council, and the Vogelstein and the Arthur foundations. He is a New Dramatists alumnus and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the National Theatre Conference.

Return to Joynes Speaker Series History

April 2011, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will visit from Nigeria to read from her new collection of short stories. She is author of two previous bestselling novels: Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus. She is also the recipient of a presitigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.  

While supplies last, honors students may claim a free copy of her short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck at the front desk of the Joynes Reading Room (CRD 007). Please only take a book if you are certain that you can attend the event Thursday night.

Paid parking is available in the garage at the corner of San Antonio Street and 25th Street. No tickets or RSVP are
required for this public event, but seating will be limited.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact mvalentine@mail.utexas.edu or call (512) 471-5692.

April, 2011:  Russell Banks will be interviewed by Professor Evan Carton, and will read from the forthcoming novel Lost Memory of Skin

A novelist, story writer, poet, essayist and screenwriter, Russell Banks has published 20 books. His archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center. 

“Russell Banks is a fearless author. He tackles themes and situations that other writers
would not touch.” — Denver Post

Banks is a member of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous international prizes and awards. He has written fiction, and more recently, non-fiction, with Dreaming up America. His main works include the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter, The Sweet Hereafter, and Affliction. The latter two novels were each made into feature films in 1997.  Banks has also written short stories, some of which appear in the collection The Angel on the Roof, as well as poetry.  Banks was the 1985 recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize for fiction. 

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