Stern to speak for Writing Program Reading Series

Acclaimed author Steve Stern, the Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences, will read from his work at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13. In addition, Stern will host a talk on the craft of fiction at 8 p.m. Nov. 20.

Both events — part of The Writing Program’s fall Reading Series — are free and open to the public and take place in Duncker Hall, Room 201, Hurst Lounge.

Over the last quarter-century, Stern has earned critical accolades for creating colorful characters that, according to The New York Times, mine “the rich terrain of Eastern European Jewry.”

His first volume, the story collection “Isaac and the Undertaker’s Daughter” (1983), was set in The Pinch, the old Jewish ghetto of Memphis, Tenn., where Stern once directed the Center for Southern Folklore’s Ethnic Heritage Program. Subsequent books include “Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven” (1986), which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish American fiction, and “The Wedding Jester” (1999), which won the National Jewish Book Award.

Stern’s most recent novel is “The Angel of Forgetfulness” (2005), which interweaves three narratives, all centering on a unfinished manuscript about a fallen angel and his half-mortal son, both of whom reside on New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century.

The Washington Post praised the book as “touching, funny and dizzying” while the Los Angeles Times noted, “Stern has tapped a direct bloodline, creating an important work of deep themes, soaring language and serious implications that is also unceasingly entertaining.”

Other books include “The Moon & Ruben Shein” (1984), “Harry Kaplan’s Adventures Under Ground” (1991), “A Plague of Dreamers” (1994) and “The North of God” (2008). Stern also is the author of two children’s books, “Mickey and the Golem” (1986) and “Hershel and the Beast” (1987).

His stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, such as The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart and The Norton Anthology of Jewish American Fiction.

Stern’s many honors include grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations. He is a writer-in-residence at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

For more information, call 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at