September, 2011: Novelist Chang-Rae Lee
Novelist Chang-rae Lee is a Korean American novelist and a professor of creative writing at Princeton University, where he has served as the director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing. Chang-rae Lee is author of four acclaimed novels, including The Surrendered, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
Lee was born in Korea in 1965. He emigrated to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old. Lee earned an English degree from Yale and an MFA in writing from the University of Oregon. He worked as a Wall Street financial analyst for a year before turning to writing full time.
His first novel, Native Speaker (1995), won numerous awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award. The novel centers around a Korean American industrial spy, explores themes of alienation and betrayal as felt or perpetrated by immigrants and first-generation citizens, and played out in local politics. Lee published a second novel, A Gesture Life, which received the Asian American Literary Award in 1999. This book elaborated on his themes of identity and assimilation through the narrative of an elderly Japanese-American doctor who remembers treating Korean comfort women during World War II. His 2004 novel Aloft received mixed notices from the critics and featured Lee's first protagonist who is not Asian American, but a disengaged and isolated Italian-American suburbanite forced to deal with his world. It received the 2006 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His 2010 novel The Surrendered was a nominated finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Plan II senior Danielle Cross wrote this blog entry in The Alcade about the Chang-rae Lee reading.
October, 2011: Photography panel titled "Visions of Family" featuring three prominent art photographers:
Dona Schwartz is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her photography explores everyday life and culture. Her most recent book, In the Kitchen, was published by Jehrer Verlag in 2009. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Musee de l’Elysee, the George Eastman House and the Harry Ransom Center.
Julie Blackmon’s book Domestic Vacations explores what she calls “the conflation of art and life” with images that are “both fictional and autobiographical.” Inspired by 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, Blackmon’s colorful images of chaotic everyday life include an element of fantasy. Her work has been widely exhibited, and she has been selected by American Photo as an “Emerging Photographer of 2008” and one of PDN’s prestigious “30.”
Cori Pepelnjak’s ongoing project JoJo exemplifies her bold and compassionate approach to documentary photography. Her work has been exhibited recently at the Rayko Gallery of San Francisco, the Art of Photography Show in San Diego, Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and IFP in St. Paul, Minnesota.
November, 2011: Author Anthony Doerr
Doerr’s short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, two Ohioana Book Awards, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the 2010 Story Prize. His books have twice been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, and made lots of other year end “Best Of” lists. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.
Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons. He teaches now and then in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. His book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Der Spiegel, and he writes a regular column on science books for the Boston Globe. Though he is often asked, as far as he knows he is not related to the late writer Harriet Doerr.
(from the writings of Anthony Doerr website)
December, 2011: Part Parker & Rita DeWitt, Creative Collaborators
Bart Parker and Rita Dewitt are a married couple who have worked collaboratively as photographers and photo educators. Bart and Rita work with composite images and collage, addressing themes including identity, history, and human life in tension with the natural world. They have each received NEA grants for their work. Bart taught for twenty-five years at the University of Rhode Island; Rita taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. They now live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
"One of the longest-lasting teams to consistently challenge the boundaries of contemporary art...Throughout nearly 30 years...they have produced evocative and influential series that have extended notions of collaborative creativity into our modern era."
-Roy Flukinger, Curator Harry Ransom Center