The 'Craft of Fiction' Event for Writers; Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019, at 8 p.m.

February 13, 2019
Craft panel trio

Time: 4:15 p.m., Roundtable; 8 p.m., Reading
Date: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019
Place: Harris Center Concert Hall

The afternoon session features a panel discussion by three acclaimed novelists, all of whom are among the nation’s most sought after creative writing teachers, on the art of writing and revising novels; the trio will also read from their own works later in the evening. The events will be moderated by Dean Bakopoulos, Grinnell College’s writer-in-residence, who teaches with all three of the visiting writers at the storied low-residency MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Writers

Margot Livesey

Livesey grew up in a boys’ private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a bachelor’s in English and philosophy at the University of York in England, she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Penguin Canada in 1986. Since then Livesey has published seven novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona, The House on Fortune Street, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Her eighth novel, Mercury, was published in September 2016 by HarperCollins.

Livesey has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Emerson College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers, and Williams College. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Livesey is currently teaching at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her husband, a painter, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and goes back to London and Scotland whenever she can.

Christopher Castellani

Castellani is the son of Italian immigrants and a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He currently lives in Boston, where he is the artistic director of Grub Street, the country’s largest and leading independent creative writing center. He is the author of three critically-acclaimed novels: A Kiss from Maddalena (Algonquin Books, 2003), winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in 2004; The Saint of Lost Things (Algonquin, 2005), a BookSense (IndieBound) Notable Book; and All This Talk of Love (Algonquin, 2013), a New York Times Editors’ Choice and finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Literary Award. The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story, a collection of essays on point of view in fiction, was published in 2016 by Graywolf Press. He has recently completed a new novel, Leading Men, for which he received Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Leading Men will be published in February 2019 by Viking Penguin. In addition to his work with Grub Street, Castellani is on the faculty and academic board of the Warren Wilson MFA program and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Castellani was educated at Swarthmore College, received his master's degree in English literature from Tufts University, and a master's of fine arts in creative writing from Boston University.

Samantha Chang

Chang was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, the daughter of Chinese parents who survived the World War II Japanese occupation of China and later emigrated to the United States. Chang has received fellowships from Stanford University (the Stegner Fellowship) and Princeton University. She served as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer of Creative Writing at Harvard University. Chang received an master's degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa, a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree in East Asian studies from Yale University. At Yale, she served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, and at Harvard she received a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Chang is a professor of English at the University of Iowa and the director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop — the first female, and the first Asian American, to hold that position. She also teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. In 2008 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in the fall of 2015 she accepted a fellowship at the American Library in Paris.

The five stories in Hunger (1998) deal mainly with the position of Chinese in America, though the last of them is set in pre-Communist Shanghai. Inheritance (2004) is the story of a wealthy but declining family in Republican China, beginning in 1925 and extending through the period of the Japanese invasion and the post-war flight to Taiwan and then the United States. Chang received the 2005 PEN/Beyond Margins Award for Inheritance. Her essay "The Perfect Gift" appears in the anthology Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, published by W. W. Norton & Company in November 2013.

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