Franzen Talks WritingGAMBIER, Ohio (January 31, 2011)
Celebrated writer Jonathan Franzen visits Kenyon on February 16 and 17 for lectures and a discussion.
Franzen is a novelist, essayist, and journalist. He won the 2001 National Book Award for his novel The Corrections and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the same novel. His latest novel, Freedom (2010) has been hailed by critics nationally and was recently nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
On Wednesday, February 16, at 8:00 p.m., in Rosse Hall auditorium, Franzen will talk about the personal dynamics of writing fiction, including influences, character development, and technical approach. On Thursday, February 17, at 11:10 a.m., in Peirce Hall Lounge, he will expand on the lecture in a discussion. The events are free and the public is invited to attend.
The New York Times called Freedom "a masterpiece of American fiction" and "a new kind of novel that might break the suffocating grip of postmodernism." Time magazine featured Franzen on the cover of its August 23, 2010, issue, with the headline "Great American Novelist." Time called him "the most ambitious and also one of the best" American novelists, a "devotee of the wide shot, the all-embracing, way-we-live-now novel."
Franzen told Time, "To me, now, to do something new is not to develop a form for the novel that has never been seen on earth before. It means to try to come to terms as a person and a citizen with what's happening in the world now and to do it in some comprehensible, coherent way."
He is also the author of the novels Strong Motion (1992) and The Twenty-Seventh City (1988) and has published the memoir The Discomfort Zone (2006) and a book of essays, How To Be Alone (2002). He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker.
His appearance is sponsored by Faculty Lectureships. Franzen will return to Kenyon to deliver the address at Kenyon's 183rd Commencement on May 21.