Lit Gloss

Do Stuff

By Liz Spikol
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 22, 2008

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Photo by Elena Seibert

It's events week here at Lit Gloss. Normally I wouldn't suggest you go to an academic conference unless you want to get drunk or get laid (hey, that sounds pretty good), but the 14th annual conference of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics may afford something more. This year's guests include Jhumpa Lahiri (pictured), one of the few women to win the Pulitzer Prize for a book of short stories. Interpreter of Maladies was a tremendous collection from a new writer, and she followed that up with The Namesake and a new book of stories, Unaccustomed Earth. Her prose is beautifully spare, and she has a wonderful capacity for inhabiting radically different characters, sort of like Zadie Smith. She once said, "When I sit down to write, I don't think about writing about an idea or a given message. I just try to write a story, which is hard enough." One of Lahiri's masterful forebears is the legendary Joyce Carol Oates, who will also be in town. She'll be doing a talk with the phenomenal and almost-as-legendary Genet and Rimbaud biographer and memoirist Edmund White, a pillar of the gay literary world, although that description is too confining. And for the 16 of you who love poetry, J.D. McClatchy will be with Oates and White--on the same panel! Other sessions might be less well-attended by the general public. Avant garde poetics, anyone? Fri., Oct. 24-Sun., Oct. 26. Free. Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, Second and Walnut sts. 215.238.6000. www.bu.edu/literary Another high-minded event to consider: "Philadelphia Gothic: Murders, Mysteries, Monsters, and Mayhem Inspire American Fiction 1798-1854." Edgar Allen Poe wasn't the only local writer with a dark imagination. The city was rife with what the Library Company calls a literature of "Lurid Crime, Weird Hallucination, Brooding Supernatural, and Sheer Horror." (Dig the old-school capitalization.) UCLA English professor Christopher Looby, whose work I've reviewed here before, will talk about "The Paradox of Philadelphia Gothic." Anyone who knows this town knows there's no paradox at all. Wed., Oct. 29, 5pm-7pm. Free but call or email ASAP for reservations. Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St. 215.546.3181. dshapiro@librarycompany.org. www.librarycompany.org

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