Fiction writer Lydia Davis to speak for Writing Program Reading Series

Fiction writer Lydia Davis, the Fannie Hurst Visiting Professor in the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences, will present a craft talk titled “A Beloved Duck Gets Cooked: Writing Outside the Mainstream” and a reading from her work at 8 p.m. March 17 and 19 in Duncker Hall, Room 201, Hurst Lounge.

Photo by David Ignaszewski


A short-story writer, novelist and translator, Davis is the author of four collections of short fiction: “Varieties of Disturbance” (2007), a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award; “Break It Down” (1986), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; “Samuel Johnson Is Indignant” (2001); and “Almost No Memory” (1997). She also has written a novel, “The End of the Story” (1995), and several small-press and limited-edition volumes.

Hailed as an inventive writer and “an American virtuoso of the short story form” (Salon magazine), Davis has written short stories that range in length from a sentence to 40 pages.

Her fiction has appeared in “The Best American Short Stories”, “The Best American Poetry” and in publications ranging from The New Yorker and Harper’s to literary journals such as Conjunctions and McSweeney’s.

Her work has been translated into six languages.

A translator of French literature and philosophy, Davis is widely recognized for her translation of Marcel Proust’s “Du Côté de chez Swann,” or “Swann’s Way” (2002), considered one of the most significant literary works of the 20th century.

Davis’ translation won the French-American Foundation’s Annual Translation Prize. She also has translated books by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve and Michel Leiris.

Davis was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and translation and, in 2003, received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

She also has been honored with a Lannan Foundation Literary Award and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award.

Currently on leave from the State University of New York at Albany, where she serves on the English department faculty, Davis lives and works in upstate New York.

Her works in progress include a new translation of Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” for Viking Penguin.

The events are free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception and book signing.

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