University of Pittsburgh
October 21, 2008

Critically Acclaimed Author Russell Banks to Deliver Literary Reading at Pitt Oct. 29

Event continues Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series 2008-09 Season
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Author Russell Banks will give a literary reading at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the University of Pittsburgh's David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland. This event is part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series 2008-09 season.

A writer of both fiction and poetry, Banks is the author of the novels "The Reserve" (Harper Collins, 2008), "Cloudsplitter" (Harper Collins, 1999), "Rule of the Bone" (Harper Collins, 1996), "The Sweet Hereafter" (Harper Collins, 1991), and "Continental Drift" (Harper Collins, 1985). He also has contributed poems, short stories, and essays to such publications as "The Boston Globe Magazine," "Vanity Fair," "The New York Times Book Review," "Esquire," and "Harper's".

The eldest of four children, Banks grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Newton, Mass., a fact that has played a major role in the subject matter of his writing. His stories often depict characters facing tragedy and downturns in everyday life while showing resilience and strength in the face of such adversity.

His works have been translated into more than 20 languages and have earned numerous literary awards, including the Ingram Merrill Award, the John Dos Passos Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novels also have been Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner finalists.

Banks also is one of the founders of Cities of Refuge North America, a nonprofit network of sanctuaries for writers exiled under threat of death, imprisonment, or persecution in their native countries. He is president of the International Parliament of Writers and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a professor of literature, he has taught at the University of New Hampshire, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, New England College, New York University, and Princeton University. He is currently an artist-in-residence at the University of Maryland.

The 2008-09 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series season is cosponsored by Pitt's Department of English in the School of Arts and Sciences, University Center for International Studies, Asian Studies Center, China Council Confucious Institute, Cultural Studies Program, Women's Studies Program, and Book Center and by the Carnegie Mellon University Creative Writing Program.

All events in the Writers Series are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jeff Oaks at, or visit