Date: October 10, 2016
Salon: 4:15-5:15 (436 Clemens)
Reading: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m CFA Screening Room
Can Xue—whose pseudonym in Chinese means both the dirty snow that refuses to melt and the purest snow at the top of a high mountain—was born in 1953 in Changsha City, Hunan Province, in South China. She lived in Changsha until 2001, when she and her husband moved to Beijing. In 1957, her father, an editorial director at the New Hunan Daily News, was condemned as an Ultra-Rightist and was sent to reform through labor, and her mother, who worked at the same newspaper, was sent to the countryside for labor as well. Because of the family catastrophe during the Cultural Revolution, Can Xue lost her chance for further education and only graduated from elementary school. Largely self-taught, Can Xue has studied reading and writing in English for years, and she has read extensively English texts of literature.
Regarded as one of the most experimental writers in the world by some literary scholars and readers—Susan Sontag once reflected, “If China has one possibility of a Nobel laureate it is Can Xue”—Can Xue describes her works as “soul literature” or “life literature.” She is the author of numerous short-story collections and four novels. Six of her works have been published in English, including Dialogues in Paradise (Northwestern University Press, 1989), Old Floating Cloud: Two Novelllas (Northwestern University Press, 1991), The Embroidered Shoes (Henry Holt, 1997), Blue Light in the Sky and Other Stories (New Directions, 2006), Five Spice Street (Yale University Press, 2009). Vertical Motion (2011) and most recently, Frontier (2016) have been translated into English by University at Rochester’s Open Letter Press. A novel and a commentary book on Kafka are forthcoming from Yale University Press. She has also published books of commentary on Borges, Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Italo Calvino, and Bruno Schulz. She claims that all of her works are from the experiments in which she takes herself as the subject.
An extensive website devoted to Can Xue’s work can be found at the MIT website: http://web.mit.edu/ccw/can-xue/index.shtml
468 Washington St
Buffalo, NY 14203
Date: November 3, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
AMELIA GRAY is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She is winner of the NYPL Young Lion, of FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She lives in Los Angeles.
Gary Lutz reflects: “Call them what you must–stories, fables, parables, nanonovels of melancholized hilarity–but Amelia Gray’s super-concentrated, hyper-velocitous prose marvelments do what so few fictions even attempt: leave you gasping from one unsettling moment to the next.”
Exhibit X Fiction
Novelist, Short Story Writer, & Conceptual Artist
WBFO Visiting Professor of the Arts, 2015-2016
Thursday September 24
Free & Open to the Public
SHELLEY JACKSON was extracted from the bum leg of a water buffalo in 1963 in the Philippines and grew up complaining in Berkeley, California. She has spent most of her life in used bookstores, smearing unidentified substances on their spines, and is duly obsessed with books: paper, glue, and ink. After first reading at Hallwalls' old "Black 'n' Blue Theatre" at Tri-Main Center in the inaugural season of Exhibit X on April 8, 2004, she published Half Life, a 440-page novel about conjoined twins, chosen as one of the Village Voice's favorite books of 2006. Jackson is also the author of the story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy (Anchor, 2002); the acclaimed hypertexts Patchwork Girl (a reworking of the Frankenstein myth), The Doll Games, and My Body; and several illustrated children's books, including The Old Woman & the Wave and Sophia, the Alchemist's Dog. Her stories and essays for grown-ups have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Grand Street, Conjunctions, and Paris Review, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Howard Foundation grant. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Pratt Institute and the New School. She continues her ongoing project of tattooing a story entitled Skin on volunteers, one word at a time, and more recently has initiated an Instagram based environmental fiction called Snow at: https://instagram.com/snowshelleyjackson/. Her latest piece, "Texts to be Written on the Moon" is part of a current exhibit at the Guggenheim Foundation, available at: http://exhibitions.guggenheim.org/storylines. Jackson is currently serving as UB's 2015-2016 WBFO Visiting Professor.
Read the UB Reporter story.
March 23, Hallwalls, 7pm
Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of six books, including
I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and
most recently, Anime Wong: Fictions of Performance,
all published by Coffee House Press. She received a US
Artists Ford Foundation Fellowship, is Professor of Literature and
Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and
currently the co-holder with Bettina Aptheker of the UC
Presidential Chair for Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic
April 9, WNYBAC, 7p
Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His New York Times-bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) made Entertainment Weeklyâ€™s top ten best fiction books of 2014, among many other best-of lists. Annihilation was a finalist for the Goodreads Reader Choice Awards, longlisted for the Folio Prize, and one of 16 books from 2014 chosen for the Morning News Tournament of Books. The novels, which chronicle 30 years of attempts to e xplore and understand a mysterious pristine wilderness known as Area X, have been optioned by Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures, with Alex Garland attached to write and direct. The trilogy has also been translated into 20 languages. VanderMeer writes nonfiction for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlanticâ€™s website, and The Guardian, among others. With his wife, the award-winning editor Ann VanderMeer, he has edited several iconic and award-winning anthologies, including The Weird, The New Weird, Steampunk, Leviathan 1â€”3, and The Time Travelerâ€™s Almanac. He is also the author of several coffee table books from Abrams Image and serves as co-director of the Shared Worlds teen writing camp, now in its eighth year. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and currently lives in Tallahassee.
Monday, April 21
Hallwalls Cinema (341 Delaware Ave.)
Free and Open to the Public
REBECCA GOODMAN is the author of The Surface of Motion (Green Integer), Aftersight (Spuyten Duyvil, forthcoming), and co-author of the composition textbook The Assignment: Why am I Writing This Essay (Fountainhead Press). She is the co-founder and co-director of Ischia Arts: The Program in Creative Writing. She lives in Southern California, where she teaches creative writing at Chapman University.
MARTIN NAKELL is a fictionalist and a poet who believes that the experience of art is energy. That energy can be released – in literature – by the disruption of form – creating fissures along which that energy travels and is where the reader encounters it. He is the author of about 11 books – poetry and fiction--and has won several national awards and grants. He lives in Southern California where he teaches at Chapman University. Of his 2010 novel, Settlement, Angela Genusa writes in Mad Hatters Review: “Nakell pulls off experimental literary techniques like a master prose magician, leaving the reader (after not only first, but repeated readings) to sit and marvel, ‘How did he do that?’”
Thursday, April 10
Hallwalls Cinema (341 Delaware Ave.)
Greek novelist and short story writer, Amanda Michalopoulou, reads newly translated fiction for the Exhibit X Fiction Series
April 10, 2014, 7:00pm, Hallwalls Cinema
Free and Open to the Public
Parking On Site
Amanda Michalopoulou is the author of six novels, three short story collections, and a successful series of children’s books. One of Greece’s leading contemporary writers, Michalopoulou has won the country’s highest literary awards, including the Revmata Prize, the Diavazo Award, and the Prize of Athens Academy, and has been nominated to and won several US based awards as well.
Michalopoulou’s first book to be translated into English—a collection of stories called I’d Like—was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award (a BTBA) and won the International Literature Prize from the National Endowment for the Arts. It has been described by George Fragopoulos as a “metafictional work reminiscent of Calvino and Borges.”
Now, award winning Rochester based publisher, Open Letter Press, has worked with translator Karen Emmerich once again to make Michalopoulou’s evocatively titled novel—Why I Killed My Best Friend—available to an English speaking audience. Set against the turbulent landscape of Greek political and economic unrest, Michalopoulou’s first translated novel explores the friendship of two cosmopolitan girls—one from Athens by way of Africa, the other from Paris—and how their love and competitiveness “translates” into a difficult relationship: what the narrator calls ‘odiodsamato.” Loosely translated, “odiodsamato” means “frienemies.”
A significant element of the novel explores our increasing global identities. Michalopoulou borrows Debord’s notion of “psychogeography” and investigates how our sense of space, our sense of self, is constantly reinvented in the contemporary moment. For her, it is tangibly expressed in her writing life: many of her novels have been written at residencies in Germany, France, the USA and Switzerland. As she reflects: "Like an actress, foreign countries give me the freedom to invent other identities – and yet I cannot escape my Greek identity. This combination is an ideal breeding ground for the imagination."
In all of Michalopoulou’s work, we are presented with a constellation of unusual stories, characterized as much by lyrical and hypnotic prose as by their movement between languages, peoples, and places. Marked by unerring cosmopolitanism, it’s no surprise that Michalopoulou has been described as “one of Greece's most innovative young story tellers.”
Thursday March 6
Hallwalls Cinema (341 Delaware Avenue)
Victor LaValle is the author of Slapboxing with Jesus, a book of stories, and three novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, and The Devil in Silver. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowhsip, the Shirley Jackson Award and the key to Southeast Queens. His writing has appeared in Granta, the Paris Review, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, and Bookforum, among others. He teaches creative writing at Columbia University.