10/10/2014 Peter Durantine

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist Jennifer Egan Coming to Campus

In the eyes of novelist and short story writer Jennifer Egan, time is no more than a thug. A hooligan. A goon.

She said she came upon that realization while writing "A Visit from the Goon Squad."

"As I worked on it, I kept wondering, 'Who is the goon?’ I liked the sense that there were many answers," Egan told The Daily Beast during a 2010 interview. "And then I found myself writing 'Time is a goon,' and realized that of course that's true -- time is the stealth goon, the one you ignore because you are so busy worrying about the goons right in front of you."

Egan, who won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for "Goon Squad," is this year's Hausman Lecturer. On Oct. 28, she will read from her works at the Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts. The free event begins at 8 p.m. and is sponsored by Richard and Edna Hausman and hosted by Franklin & Marshall College's English Department.

After her reading, Egan will take questions and sign copies of her books, including "The Invisible Circus," which was released as a feature film by Fine Line in 2001, as well as "Emerald City and Other Stories," the bestselling "The Keep," and "Look at Me," nominated for the National Book Award in 2001.

"A Visit from the Goon Squad," which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the L.A. Times Book Prize, is about aging and aging rock musicians. In the book, the 52-year-old Egan, a mother of two who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers keen insight into aging and the inevitability of becoming part of the past.

Egan has a link to F&M in her past. Her former roommate at the University of Pennsylvania, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English Kerry Sherin Wright, is founding director of the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.

"Jenny has always been extremely ambitious in the best sense of the word," said Wright, an author and teacher of contemporary and creative writing.  "She is such a perfectionist when it comes to her prose."

In becoming a writer, Wright said her onetime roommate "always read with an eye toward the craft," studying the habits of the best writers. Egan writes in longhand before she types a draft, a process that allows her to edit more precisely. She is listed among today's most accomplished literary artists alongside the likes of Rick Moody, author of "The Ice Storm," who spoke on campus last semester.

"I think Jenny is the lioness of that generation," Wright said. "She is just a person who is always expanding her range of understanding." 

 
  • Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Newsday reporter Les Payne will give a craft talk on Oct. 16 at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.

The Hausman Lecture Series was established to bring award-winning authors to the F&M campus to read from their work and to meet with students. Wright said the lecture affords students the opportunity to hear great authors and learn more about the craft of writing.

"You have this writer who is so accomplished and who enjoys coming to meet and talk with students," Wright said of Egan. "It will inspire the students and her."

Egan's stop at F&M will make her the third Pulitzer Prize winner to visit campus this month. On Oct. 17, former New York Newsday reporter Les Payne and Nick Chiles will be guests at a special reception to be held as part of the ongoing "Painting With Light: The Art of Bunch Washington" exhibit at the Phillips Museum of Art. The day before the reception, on Oct. 16, Payne will give a craft talk, "How to Write so That People Will Read You," at 4:30 p.m. at the Writers House.

Payne won the prestigious award in 1974 for his 33-part series "The Heroin Trail," tracking the international flow of heroin into New York City. Chiles was honored in 1992 as part of a Newsday team covering a fatal subway crash.

 
  • Jennifer Egan, who won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for "A Visit from the Goon Squad," is this year's Hausman Lecturer at Franklin & Marshall College. On Oct. 28, she will read from her works at F&M's Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts. Jennifer Egan, who won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for "A Visit from the Goon Squad," is this year's Hausman Lecturer at Franklin & Marshall College. On Oct. 28, she will read from her works at F&M's Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts.
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