University of Pittsburgh
February 22, 2010

Essayist Sven Birkerts and Blogger Maud Newton to Discuss the Impact Of Technology on the Publishing Industry, April 1 at Pitt

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH- Imagining the possibilities that future technologies might have on the publishing industry will be the focus of a discussion with essayist Sven Birkerts and blogger Maud Newton. Titled "The Future of the Book," this rescheduled event will be held at 8:30 p.m. April 1 in G-24 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event, part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series 2009-10 season, was postponed because of inclement weather.

The event will be moderated by Pitt creative writing professor Cathy Day, author of the short story collection "The Circus In Winter" (Harcourt, 2004) and the memoir "Comeback Season: How I Learned to Play the Game of Love" (Free Press, 2008).

The discussion between Birkerts and Newton will be partially based on Birkerts' critically acclaimed book "The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age" (Faber and Faber, 1994).

Birkerts is the Contemporary Writers Series 2009-10 William Block Sr. Writer; past honorees include Paul Muldoon, Philip Gourevitch, and Richard Ford.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Birkerts has amassed numerous honors, including the Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award from PEN for the Best Book of Essays, in 1990, and the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle, in 1985. His other works of literature include "My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time" (Viking, 2002), "The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry" (William Morrow, 1989), and "An Artificial Wilderness: Essays on 20th-Century Literature" (William Morrow, 1987).

Newton, who began blogging in 2002, focuses her writing on books, culture, and politics. She has been featured on NPR and in "The New York Times" and "The Boston Globe," among other publications. Her essays and works of fiction have appeared in such literary magazines as "Granta," "Swink," and "Pindeldyboz".

Newton's honors include the Irwin and Alice Stark Short Fiction Award from the City College of New York for her story "Regarding the Insurance Defense Attorney," in 2004.

The 2009-10 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series season is sponsored by Pitt's Writing Program, Book Center, University Library System, and University of Pittsburgh Press. All events in the Writers Series are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jeff Oaks at or visit