Elizabeth Benedict's second anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most (Algonquin, 2013) was a New York Times Bestseller.


Barnard Alumna Book Club Keynote!

Exciting news! MENTORS, MUSES & MONSTERS was chosen as the book by an alum that incoming Barnard freshmen would read over the summer for the Barnard Alumna Book Club, and I'll be giving the keynote address at this gathering tomorrow during freshman orientation, Thurs. Aug 29th. I'll be joined after my talk by Sigrid Nunez. We'll chat about her time at Barnard studying with Elizabeth Hardwick and about her essay on Susan Sontag in the anthology, which became the memoir, Sempre Susan.  Several years ago, Sigrid's novel, The Last of Her Kind, was chosen for this event. Mary Gordon is the third Barnard alum whose work is in the collection, and Caryl Phillips, who taught at Barnard for many years, also has an essay in it on growing up to become a writer. I'm thrilled to join this wonderful roster of alums whose books have been selected, which also includes Jeanette Walls, Anna Quindlen, and Lily Koppel.  


Philip Roth On a Mentor

Despite his famed retirement, Philip Roth's eulogy for a childhood mentor appeared in The New York Times yesterday, and I encourage you to read it here


Word is spreading

I was touched to see that the founder and head of an elementary school in California is reading Mentors, Muses & Monsters, and was so struck by Alexander Chee's essay on Annie Dillard that she devoted a blogspot to it. Click here to read it. Thank you!


Center for Fiction - A Great Evening - Nov. 13!

Nov. 13. NYC. Please join Dani Shapiro, Thomas Beller, Maud Newton and me for this Mentors, Muses & Monsters panel at the Center for Fiction at 17 East 47th St, just off Fifth Avenue. Gail Kinn's donation of books by her late husband Jerome Badanes is at the heart of this very special evening. RSVP is necessary. $5 suggested donation. (Hey, it's worth it and more!)


Barack, Barnard & 3Ms

I was thrilled that President Obama chose to give a commencement address at Barnard this year, on May 14--thrilled for Barnard, from which I graduated, and for the attention it will bring to women's issues as the Republicans wage their war against women.
The Barnard reunion will be held a few weeks later, the weekend of June 1, and for the second year in a row, Mentors, Muses & Monsters will be used as an inspiration for getting reunion goers to remember people who mattered to them. In conjunction with The Moth, a Barnard alum from each decade has been chosen to do a public telling of her story of a mentor, muse or monster from her time at Barnard. I'm honored the book is part of the reunion program and looking forward to attending the event and posting the video when it's available.


Looking backwards and forwards...

Huge thanks to Porter Square Books in Cambridge, and to panelists Jay Cantor, Chris Castellani, and Elizabeth Searle, who joined me to talk about influence and mentorship - and specifically Bernard Malamud, John Hawkes, and the Bread Loaf writers conference, where Chris Castellani, now the Director of Grub Street, got his mojo back after a dispiriting time in graduate school. Many old friends showed up. It was great to be back at my favorite local bookstore!
This summer, I'll be teaching, as I always do, at the NY State Summer Writers Institute, and talking about mentorship and influence - and 3Ms - with the Young Writers, in their special program at Skidmore, and doing a panel with director Robert Boyers, also a contributor to 3Ms, at the end of the first week of July. Stay tuned for details.