2011 ND Women Writers Festival

Location: McKenna Hall

You are cordially invited to attend the 2011 Notre Dame Women Writers Festival. This year the focus is on nonfiction and its interplay with journalism, biography, memoir, fiction, and film.  Thesubjects range from poverty, immigration, and gender to orchid thieves, the body, and Rin Tin Tin.

The writers are MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner Edwidge Danticat, whose Brother, I’m Dying, a wrenching account of her elderly uncle’s death while in the custody of U.S. Immigration, won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Susan Orlean, staff writer for the New Yorker and author of The Orchid Thief, the basis for the film Adaptation; Jenny Boully, poet and experimental essayist, whose prizewinning The Body: an Essay, is widely taught; and Sonja Livingstonauthor of Ghostbread, a memoir of poverty awarded the AWP Nonfiction Prize from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Monday, March 28.

7:30 p.m.   Readings by Edwidge Danticat and Jenny Boully.  McKenna Hall Auditorium.

Tuesday, March 29.

2 p.m.  Nonfiction panel with Danticat, Boully, Orlean, and Livingston.  100 McKenna Hall.

7:30 p.m.  Readings by Susan Orlean and Sonja Livingston. 100 McKenna Hall.


2011 Notre Dame Women Writers Festival

Author Biographies


Edwidge Danticatwas born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, until she was twelve years old, when she moved to the United States to be reunited with her parents. She has written many award-winning novels and collections of stories and essays, including Breath, Eyes, Memory; Krik? Krak!, a collection of stories nominated for the National Book Award; The Farming of Bones, a novel awarded the American Book Award; and Brother, I’m Dying, winner of the National Book Critics Circle winner and the Dayton Literary Peace Price .  In 2009, she was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. In 2010, she published Create Dangerously: the Immigrant Writer at Work with Princeton University Press, and Eight Days, a children’s book about the Haitian earthquake.  Danticatreceived her BA in French literature from Barnard College, and her MFA at Brown University.  Suggested reading: Brother, I’m Dying.

Sonja Livingston’s memoir of poverty, Ghostbread, won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs prize for nonfiction.  Livingston’s exploration of her own life as the daughter of an unwed, working-class mother is notable for its formal innovation: it is composed in compressed, intense mini-chapters.  Livingston has won a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, an Iowa Review award, and grants from the Vermont Studio Center and the Deming Fund for women.  Her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared widely, in such literary venues as AGNI, Gulf Coast, and Southeast Review.  Suggested reading: Ghostbread.

Susan Orlean.  A staff writer at the New Yorker, Orlean is the author of The Orchid Thief (the basis for the film Adaptation) and Saturday Night.  Her forthcoming book, a biography of the animal actor Rin Tin Tin, suggests the range and playfulness of her interests: she says that her goal as a writer has been to write “long stories about interesting things, rather than news stories about short-lived events.”  Orlean began her career as a journalist at Rolling Stone, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, and the Village Voice, and her perspectives on the “New Journalism,” the interplay between film and print, and the evolving forms of magazine and book culture will be invaluable to media scholars as well as students considering writing careers.  Suggested reading: The Orchid Thief.

Jenny Boully, who teaches nonfiction in the M.F.A. program at Columbia College, is one of the most influential experimentalists in contemporary literary publishing.  A  poet as well as a prose writer, she is best known for her explorations of the nature of “personal” writing itself.  Her prizewinning book, The Body: an Essay, consists of footnotes to a non-existent text, and is widely taught.  Her other books are [one love affair]* and The Book of Beginnings and Endings.  Her work has been anthologized in The Next American Essay, The Best American Poetry, and Great American Prose Poetry. Born in Korat, Thailand and reared in San Antonio, Texas, she has studied at Hollins University and the University of Notre Dame and earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  Suggested reading: The Body.

Made possible by the generous support of:  The Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean, college of Arts and Letters, Henkels Lecturer fund, The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, The English Department, The Creative Writing Program, The American Studies Department, The Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, The Gender Studies Program

The Public is Warmly Invited.  For more information, visit english.nd.edu/creative-writing/events/women-writers-festival or CALL 574.631.7526