Writers Festival 2004(Click on image to view a full-size version of the poster)

Festival Schedule of Events

Friday, February 20

8 PM.

Marie Ponsot and Norman Rush will read new and published works. Research Room of the Smathers Library (Library East), University of Florida.

10–11 PM.

Reception. Research Room of the Smathers Library (Library East), University of Florida.

Saturday, February 21

12–2 PM.

Informal talks by Festival writers. Marie Ponsot, 12–12:30 PM. Norman Rush, 12:30–1 PM. Lisa Zeidner, 1–1:30 PM. Paul Muldoon, 1:30–2 PM.

4 PM.

Paul Muldoon and Lisa Zeidner will read new and published works. Research Room of the Smathers Library (Library East), University of Florida.

8 PM.

Grace Paley will read new and published works and speak informally on her work. Research Room of the Smathers Library (Library East), University of Florida.

10–11 PM.

Reception. Research Room of the Smathers Library (Library East), University of Florida.

All events are free and open to the public.

The Festival is presented by MFA at Florida, the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English of the University of Florida. It receives generous support from Dorothy and Terry Smiljanich, Nathan Collier, ACCENT, The Gainesville Sun, Goerings Book Store, Steve’s Café Americain, and Jeff Grogin/Snood.com. For further information please contact the program director, Padgett Powell, <powell@english.ufl.edu>, or visit the MFA at Florida WWW site, at <http://www.english.ufl.edu/crw/>

About the Festival Writers

Paul Muldoon won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2003. He has been hailed as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War” by the Times Literary Supplement. He was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Ireland, and educated at Queen’s University Belfast under the tutelage of Seamus Heaney. Before moving to the United States in 1987, Muldoon worked as a radio and television producer for the BBC in Belfast. Since 1987 Muldoon has served as Howard G. B. Clark Professor of the Humanities and Creative Writing at Princeton University. In 1999 he was also appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Muldoon’s published volumes of poetry include New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting the British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968–1998 (2001), and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). He has translated a volume of poems by the Irish writer Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (1992), written the libretto for the opera Shining Brow (1993), served as editor for numerous volumes of poetry, including The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (1986), and delivered the Oxford Clarendon Lectures in 1988, published as To Ireland, I (2000). Muldoon’s awards include the 1992 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the 1996 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the 1997 Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, and the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry. Muldoon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and president of the Poetry Society in London. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

Born in 1922 in the Bronx, New York, Grace Paley has been called “one of the best writers alive” by Newsweek’s Walter Clemons. Paley was educated at Hunter College and New York University. She has taught at Columbia and Syracuse Universities, Dartmouth College, and Sarah Lawrence College, where she taught creative writing and literature for close to twenty years. Until recently, she served as writer-in-residence at City College of New York. Paley is the author of several highly acclaimed books of short fiction, including The Little Disturbances of Man (1959), Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974), Later the Same Day (1985), and The Collected Stories (1994). She has also published three collections of poetry, including Begin Again: Collected Poems (2001), and a memoir, Just as I Thought (1998). Her short stories have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and Esquire. Paley has long been active in the feminist, anti-war, and anti-nuclear movements. In 1961, she helped found the Greenwich Village Peace Center, a hub of Vietnam War draft resistance. In 1969 and 1973, respectively, she visited Hanoi and Moscow as a member of peace delegations, and in the 1980s she helped organize the Women’s Pentagon Action and the Women’s Peace Encampment at Seneca Falls. She has also been a member of the War Resisters’ League, Resist, and the Clamshell Alliance. Paley’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters award. From 1986–1988 she served as New York State’s first official state author. She is an executive board member of P.E.N. and a founding chair of Women’s WORLD. In 1987 she was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of her lifetime contribution to literature. The mother of two and grandmother of one, Paley lives in New York City and Thetford Hill, Vermont.

Norman Rush was born and raised in the San Francisco area. During the Korean War, Rush served time in federal prison as a non-religious conscientious objector; he was nineteen at the time. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1956, Rush worked as an antiquarian book dealer and college instructor, publishing his poetry and fiction in literary journals. From 1978 to 1983, Rush and his wife Elsa served in Botswana as the first country co-directors of the Peace Corps. Botswana serves as the setting for Rush’s three books, all published by Knopf: Whites (1986), a collection of short stories, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Mating (1991), his first novel, which won the National Book Award for fiction and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize; and Mortals (2003), the final book in Rush’s Botswana trilogy. Rush’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Grand Street, and The Best American Short Stories of 1971, 1984, and 1985, while his essays and reviews have been published in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation and Grand Street. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. Rush lives with his wife Elsa in Rockland County, New York.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes Marie Ponsot as “one of the most elegant, intelligent poets around.” Born in Queens, New York, in 1921 to a wine importer and a schoolteacher, Ponsot published poems in the Brooklyn Eagle while still a child. After graduating from St. Joseph’s College for Women in Brooklyn, Ponsot earned her Master’s degree in seventeenth-century literature from Columbia University. After WW II, Ponsot journeyed to Paris, where she met her former husband, Claude Ponsot. Ponsot lived in Paris for three years and eventually translated 37 books from the French, including The Fables of La Fontaine. Upon returning from France, Ponsot wrote radio and television scripts, taught in graduate programs at the Poetry Center of the 92nd St. Y, and at Beijing United, New York, and Columbia Universities, and she served as an English professor at Queens College in New York, from which she retired in 1991. Ponsot’s first poetry collection, True Minds, was published in 1956 by City Lights. It was not until 25 years later, after raising her children, that she published her second collection, Admit Impediment (1981), followed by The Green Dark (1988). Her fourth book, The Bird Catcher (1998), won the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, and was a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Her most recent poetry collection is Springing: New and Selected Poems (2002), which won the 2002 Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award. Ponsot is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association. The mother of seven and grandmother of fourteen, Ponsot lives in Manhattan.

Lisa Zeidner was born in 1955 in Washington, D.C. Educated at Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington University in St. Louis, Zeidner is a Professor of English at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she directs the Graduate Program in English and the annual Spring and Summer Writers’ Conferences. Zeidner is the author of four novels: Customs (1981), Alexandra Freed (1983), Limited Partnerships (1989), and Layover (1999), which has been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Hebrew. She has published two books of poetry, Talking Cure (1982) and Pocket Sundial (1989), which won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Zeidner’s short stories have appeared in GQ, Tin House, Boulevard, Granta, and Mademoiselle. Her articles, essays, and reviews have been published in The New York Times, Salon, Slate, and The Washington Post Book World. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.