University of Pittsburgh
August 5, 2007

Activist, Scholars, Publishers, Part of Pitt's 2007-08 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series

Inaugural Fred R. Brown Literary Award and a Social Responsibility Panel Discussion Most Recent Additions to Pitt's Annual Celebration of Literature
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH- The 2007-08 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series at the University of Pittsburgh begins its 10th season with a reading from short story writer George Saunders at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland.

Saunders, an assistant professor of creative writing at Syracuse University, won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004. In 2006, he was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly called a "genius grant." His fiction has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Harper's, and Esquire.

This year's series marks the debut of the Fred R. Brown Literary Award, which will be presented to author Don Lee on Nov. 8. The award is named for Pitt alumni Fred R. Brown (CAS '71) and Melanie Brown (CGS '86, KGSB '90, KGSB '93). The honor recognizes the accomplishments of novelists in the early stages of their careers. The series also will hold its first panel discussion on writing and social responsibility, featuring notable nonfiction writers Elmaz Abinader, Tim Bascom, and Andrew Lam, on March 5, 2008.

The complete Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series 2007-08 schedule follows:

Oct. 1 George Saunders, 8:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Author of Civil War Land in Bad Decline (Riverhead Books, 1996), Pastoralia (Riverhead Books, 2000), The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (Villard, 2000), The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (Riverhead Books, 2005), and In Persuasion Nation (Riverhead Books, 2006).

Oct. 17 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Reading and Award Ceremony, 7:30 p.m.,

Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Kirk Nesset

2007 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner for Paradise Road (University of

Pittsburgh Press, 2007).

Hilary Masters

Drue Heinz Literary Prize judge; author of The Common Pasture (Macmillan, 1967), An American Marriage (Macmillan, 1969), Palace of Strangers (World Publishing, 1971), Notes from Memory (David Godine, 1982), Clemmons (David Godine, 1985), Cooper (St. Martin's Press, 1987), Manuscript for Murder (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1987), Strickland (St. Martin's Press, 1990), and Home Is the Exile (Permanent Press, 1996).

Oct. 23 Poetry Readings, 8:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Jan Freeman

Poet and author of Hyena (Cleveland State Poetry Center, 1993), Autumn Sequence (Paris Press, 1993), and Simon Says (Paris Press, 2000) and

Allison Joseph

Poet and author of What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003), and Worldly Pleasures (Word Press, 2004).

Oct. 24 Publishing Poets, 2 p.m., 501 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave.

A panel discussion with four poets who are also publishers and editors.

Poetry Readings, 8:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

April Ossman

Poet and author of Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2007) and

Martha Rhodes

Poet and author of Mother Quiet (Zoo Press, 2004), Perfect Disappearance (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2000), and At the Gate (Provincetown Arts, 2000).

Nov. 8 Fred R. Brown Literary Award presentation, 8:30 p.m., 343 Alumni Hall,

4227 Fifth Ave.

Don Lee

Author of Yellow (W.W. Norton & Co., 2001) and Country of Origin (W.W. Norton & Co., 2004).

Feb. 6 Ellen Bass, 8:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Poetry reading by the coeditor of No More Masks! (Perennial, 1993), and author of Mules of Love (BOA Edition, 2002), and The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007).

Feb. 27 2007-08 William Block Sr. Writer, 8:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Philip Gourevitch

Editor of The Paris Review and author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Picador, 1999) and A Cold Case (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001).

March 5 A Panel Discussion on Writing and Social Responsibility, 6 p.m., 501 Cathedral of Learning

Elmaz Abinader

Author of Children of the Roojme, A Family's Journey From Lebanon (University of Wisconsin, 1991) and In the Country of My Dreams: Poetry by Elmaz Abinader (Sufi Warrior Publishing Co., 1999).

Tim Bascom

Author of the novel Squatters Rites (New Day Press, 1990) and the memoir Chameleon Days: An American Boyhood in Ethiopia (Mariner Books, 2006).

Andrew Lam

Editor with New America Media and author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora (Heyday Books, 2005).

April 2 Andrew Zawacki, 8:30 p.m., 501 Cathedral of Learning

Poet and author of By Reason of Breakings (University of Georgia Press, 2002).

The Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series is cosponsored by Pitt's Book Center, Women's Studies Program, and the University of Pittsburgh Press. All events in the Writers Series are free and open to the public.