April 8th, 2009 / 12:12 pm
Vicarious MFA

Vicarious MFA: Extracurricular Activities

Can we handle it?

Can we handle it?

Last year I took a class from the illustrious Leslie Sharpe titled “Can The Truth Be Told?” Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about truth in creative writing. What is truth if it’s not fact? When does fact get in the way or truth and truth in the way of fact? Can creativity get along with factuality? What is emotional truth (other than a bomb shelter for the fake memoirists) and does it have a use in the “real” memoir. Can we even consider our memories as forms of truth?

As the panels editor for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Fine Art I get a chance to wrangle together some people who are a lot smarter than me and ask them to think about these things and then have a public discussion about it. (Our very own Justin Taylor moderated the one we organized in the fall on Literary Dichotomies which featured Heidi Julavits, Nathaniel Rich, Shelley Jackson and Mark Grief.)

The spring panel is titled True Stories and it will take place on Friday April 17 at Housing Works Bookstore. It starts at 7 pm. Brenda Wineapple will be moderating and the panel will feature David Shields, Rachel Zucker and David Ebershoff. Bios after the jump…David Shields is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Thing About Life is That One Day You’ll Be Dead and eight previous books that have won him awards and accolades. He’s won every fellowship and published essays in every magazine any writer could ever hope for.

Rachel Zucker has published three books of poems including The Bad Wife Handbook and is working on her fourth collection. She has taught at Yale, NYU, Fordham Univeristy and Makor. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa and has published her poems in Prairie Schooner, Epoch, American Poetry Review, Fence and many others.

David Ebershoff is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories. His most recent is the bestselling novel, The 19th Wife. He has taught creative writing at Princeton, NYU and currently teaches in the MFA program at Columbia University. He is also an editor at large for Random House.

Brenda Wineapple has written acclaimed biographies on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Jenet Flanner, a book about Gertrude and Leo Stein and White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. She’s also won a myriad of fellowships and awards and has published work in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation and many others. She teaches in the MFA program at Columbia and The New School

See you there!!!

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