2014/2015 Series of Uncommon Voices

  • Sponsored by Nazareth College and Alan Cameros
    • Colson WhiteheadThursday, October 9, 2014Underwritten by: Thomson Reuters
    • Mitchell DavisThursday, November 6, 2014Underwritten by: Parkleigh
    • Zadie SmithThursday, December 4, 2014Underwritten by: Barbara and John Lovenheim
    • Erik LarsonThursday, March 19, 2015Underwritten by: Rochester Brain & Spine Neurosurgery and Pain Management
    • Rachel KushnerThursday, April 16, 2015Underwritten by: Steven G. Schwartz/Wealth Design Servicesand Alice M. Tariot MD PC
    • Yiyun LiThursday, May 14, 2015Underwritten by: Friends of Rochester Arts & Lectures

Erik Larson

Erik Larson has written four New York Times bestsellers. His most recent is his portrait of the American ambassador and his family in Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, which remained on the list for 35 weeks. His account of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, including that of a ruthless serial killer, The Devil in the White City, was on the New York Times hardcover and paperback lists for a combined total of over three years—it also won the Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His previous books, Thunderstruck and Isaac’s Storm, also became bestsellers. Among his other books are Lethal Passage and The Naked Consumer. The New York Times Book Review has said, “Larson is a marvelous writer…superb at creating characters with a few short strokes.” Larson was also a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and a contributing writer for Time magazine and he has written for The AtlanticHarper’s, and The New Yorker among other publications.

Rachel Kushner

Author Rachel Kushner has been a finalist for the National Book Award twice and is a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her award-winning first novel, Telex from Cuba, was a New York Times bestseller and her second novel, The Flamethrowers, was named one of the Top Ten Books of 2013 by the New York Times. Novelist Karen Russell said “The Flamethrowers lives up to its incendiary title – it is a brilliant, startling, truly revolutionary book…” In addition her fiction and essays appear regularly in the New York TimesThe Paris Review,The BelieverArtforum, BookforumFence,Bomb, and Grand Street. Her novels and essays explore contemporary art, culture, revolutionary politics, modernism, and feminism.

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li’s debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and the California Book Award for fiction. Her subsequent works have also won numerous awards including the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction for The Vagrants; finalist of the Story Prize for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl; and her most recent book Kinder Than Solitude was published to critical acclaim. Other awards include, Whiting Award, Lannan Foundation Residency fellow, 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellow, and 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has also been selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35 and by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. Yiyun Li is also a contributing editor to the Brooklyn-based literary magazine, A Public Space. The New York Times says, “There’s something about the poise, the tidiness, the seemingly effortless calm of Yiyun Li’s writing that makes it easy to see her as an author who, like Jhumpa Lahiri, employs a Chekhovian neutrality to give the complicated, messy, ostensibly ‘colorful’ lives of her characters a kind of unthreatening watercolor ambience.”

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