BENNINGTON — Literature Evenings, Bennington College’s distinguished Wednesday night readings series, will highlight prestigious authors, faculty members, and student voices during its spring 2021 series. The series begins Feb. 24.
This spring, in line with public health practices, all Literature Evenings readings will be presented remotely over Zoom. All events begin at 7 p.m. and are free, open to the public, and can be accessed and shared from the Literature Evenings webpage.
“Our Literature Evenings are normally held in the Franklin living room,” said Benjamin Anastas, a member of the Literature faculty. “It’s an intimate setting with a lot of history: writers like Bernard Malamud, Anaiïs Nin and poet Mary Oliver all read their work in front of that fireplace.”
“Temporarily,” Anastas continued, “we’ll have to gather at the hearth of Zoom.”
On Wednesday, Literature Evenings welcomes Roxana Robinson ’68. Robinson is the author of ten books: six novels, three collections of short stories, and a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories, Tin House and elsewhere. Her novel “Cost” won the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Fiction Award for 2008. Her novel “Sparta” won the Maine Fiction Award, the James Webb Award from the USMCHF, was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the BBC, and was short-listed for the Dublin IMPAC Award.
Robinson has received fellowships from the NEA, the MacDowell Colony and the Guggenheim Foundation, and was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. She studied writing at Bennington with novelist Bernard Malamud and graduated from the University of Michigan.
On March 17, Literature Evenings celebrates the book launch of “Small Bibles for Bad Times” by Liliane Atlan and translated by faculty member Marguerite Feitlowitz. Visionary French poet/playwright/novelist Liliane Atlan was driven to “find language to say the unsayable . . . to [find a way] to integrate within our conscience, without dying in the attempt, the shattering experience of Auschwitz.” A recipient of the Shoah Prize and a career achievement award from the Festival d’Avignon, she was a genre-defying, feminist and political writer, active in France and in Israel, where she made work with Palestinian theatre artists. From murderous history, Atlan (1932-2011) created a darkly radiant body of work.
This event will begin with a staged reading from “Mister Fugue” (Atlan’s best-known play, also translated by Feitlowitz) performed by drama faculty member Kirk Jackson, with students Joshua Goldberg, David Guzman and Ruby Loewenstein.
Marguerite Feitlowitz, a current NEA Fellow in Literary Translation, has held two Fulbrights and a Bunting Fellowship, among other awards. She translates literature from French and Spanish, and is the author of “A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture.” Her first book-length translation was a collection of Liliane Atlan’s major plays. She teaches literature at Bennington College, and is the founding director of Bennington Translates, a multi-disciplinary program funded in part by the Mellon Foundation.
On April 28, faculty member Paul La Farge will read. La Farge is the author of four novels: “The Night Ocean” (Penguin/Random House), “The Artist of the Missing” (FSG), “Haussmann, or the Distinction” (Picador), and “Luminous Airplanes” (FSG), which continues as a large web-based hypertext. He has also written a book of imaginary dreams, “The Facts of Winter” (McSweeney’s). His stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Harper’s and elsewhere.
He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin. He joined the Bennington faculty in fall 2020.
The Literature Evenings series concludes in May with two events led by Bennington students — a senior thesis reading showcasing Bennington seniors who have completed a creative or critical thesis, and a student reading featuring fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by current Bennington students. Details for both events are forthcoming and will be available on the college’s event calendar.