Award-winning author and essayist Jo Ann Beard will read from her work as part of the Colleges’ Trias Reading Series at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 in the Hirshson Ballroom.
Beard, a professor of writing at Sarah Lawrence College, widely known for her collection of autobiographical essays titled, “The Boys of My Youth” (1999), is the last reader in Mary Gaitskill’s Trias Reading Series. Following Beard’s Trias upcoming presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session with refreshments. The event is free and open to the public.
“Jo Ann Beard is an extraordinarily fine writer. Her reputation comes from her collection of memoiristic essays called, ‘The Boys of My Youth,'” says Professor of English David Weiss. “She has the uncanny ability to recreate the mind and sensorium of childhood and adolescence, particularly young women, whose tang is a southern marinade. ‘The Boys of My Youth’ is about the disenchantment of adult life; the remarkable enchantment of being young, which she beautifully evokes; however, takes place in the full presence of the forces of the disenchantment-cruelty, misery and disappointment.”
Weiss says Beard’s novel, “In Zanesville,” also similarly addresses the conundrum of how one makes something of oneself. “In both books there is an uncannily attuned use of language which is never less than masterful,” he says.
Beard’s work has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Tin House, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Her essays also have been published in anthologies such as “The Best American Essays and the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work From 1970 to the Present” (2007). In 1997, Beard was awarded with the Whiting Foundation Award and received a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship. Beard also was awarded a non-fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2009.
The Trias Residency for Writers is supported by The Peter Trias Endowed Fund for Poetry and Creative Writing. The fund, established through a generous bequest from Peter J. Trias ’70, aims to bring writers and poets to Hobart and William Smith Colleges for year-long appointments. In addition to working with students, each writer in residence brings several authors to campus for readings. Fiction writers who have appeared on campus this academic year include George Saunders, Wells Tower and Gary Shteyngart.
The next Trias Writer in Residence, Polish Poet Piotr Sommer, will be on campus to give a talk and reading on May 1, 2013.