Literary Grace Abounding at Queens College Readings

This will be a particularly good year for literati, to judge from the 28th season of Queens College Evening Readings that has been orchestrated by its founder and director, Joseph Cuomo. Nine distinguished writers will take part in the readings, which are held in the College’s Music Building on six Tuesday evenings spread over the academic year (all begin at 7 P.M.).

Doris Lessing, most recently the author of The Sweetest Dream. Photo, Ingrid Von Kruse.

The eminent Romanian writer, Norman Manea, a survivor of Nazi prison camps and of the Ceaucescu regime, opens the series on November 12. A Hooligan’s Return, a memoir about his recent return to his homeland, received wide acclaim, notably from Ariel Dorfman, who praised its “caustic dexterity and lyrical power.”

The novelist and short-story writer Edna O’Brien—whom Philip Roth has called “the most gifted woman now writing fiction in English”—follows on November 25. Norman Rush, the author of the National Book Award-winning story collection Whites and the novels Mating and Mortals, appears February 24, 2004. March 16 brings Doris Lessing, one of the most eminent postwar English novelists. All of these first four readings will include an interview by New York City’s nonpareil literary questioner, Leonard Lopate.

A reading on March 30 will pair Mary Gordon and Jhumpa Lahiri, the latter having just won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies. The season culminates on May 4 with a round table on the art of writing with a Booker Prize winner, A.S. Byatt, Queens College’s own emerita poet Marie Ponsot, and Elaine Scarry, the distinguished interdisciplinary thinker and author of such books as The Body in Pain
and On Beauty and Being Just.

Admission to the readings is $10 (season tickets are discounted); entrance is free for CUNY students with ID (for information, 718-997-4646 or


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