News and Events

See all News and Events

A Reading by Sigrid Nunez
The National Book Award winner reads from her work
Monday, November 11, 2019
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm EST/GMT-5
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
Photograph © 2018 Nancy Crampton [A Reading by Sigrid Nunez] On Monday, November 11, at 6:30 p.m., in the László Z. Bitó ’60 Auditorium, Reem-Kayden Center (RKC), Sigrid Nunez reads from her work. Presented by the Innovative Contemporary Fiction Reading Series and the Written Arts Program, and introduced by MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, the reading is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Books by Sigrid Nunez will be available for sale, courtesy of Oblong Books & Music.

Sigrid Nunez was born and raised in New York City, the daughter of a German mother and a Panamanian-Chinese father. In 1972, after graduating from Barnard College, Nunez worked as an editorial assistant for Robert B. Silvers at the New York Review of Books. She then received her MFA from Columbia University and returned to NYRB, where she met the late Susan Sontag, who became the subject of her 2011 memoir, Sempre Susan. Nunez chronicled her childhood and adolescence in her first book, a hybrid novel, A Feather on the Breath of God (1995), both a critical and commercial success. Her novel For Rouenna (2001), which tells the story of a woman’s experiences in the Vietnam War, was seen by many as her “breakthrough work.” In her fiction, Nunez has experimented with a vast range of genres and themes, marked by a spare, intimate, confessional tone. While beloved by fellow novelists, Nunez kept a deliberate distance from the literary scene, but with the 2018 publication of “The Friend,” Nunez became an “overnight literary sensation,” winning the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction and drawing euphoric reviews that hailed the novel as “a subtle, unassuming masterpiece” (New York Times).

Sigrid Nunez is the author of eight books. Her work has appeared in anthologies including four Pushcart Prize volumes, four anthologies of Asian-American literature, and The Best American Short Stories 2019. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is in the process of being translated into thirteen more. She lives in New York City.
 
PRAISE FOR SIGRID NUNEZ

“Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts—the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence. She addresses important ideas unpretentiously and offers wisdom for any aspiring writer.” New York Times Book Review

“Nunez has proved herself a master of psychological acuity.” New Yorker
 
“A major talent . . . [Nunez’s] gift is wild and large.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Nunez’s piercing intelligence and post-feminist consciousness may well feel that writing the Great American novel is no longer a feasible or worthwhile goal—but damned if she hasn’t gone and done it anyway.” Salon

“Nunez’s keen powers of observation make her a natural chronicler.” New York Review of Books

“When the apocalypse comes, I want Nunez in my lifeboat.” Vanity Fair

“One of the most dizzyingly accomplished of our writers.” —Gary Shteyngart

Contact: Nicole Nyhan, nnyhan@bard.edu, 845-758-7054

Connect

e-mail
Submissions

In Print

Vol. 77
States of Play: The Games Issue
Fall 2021
Bradford Morrow

Online

November 17, 2021
I fell asleep with my girlfriend’s head on my shoulder, but woke to a too-familiar absence—one that had somehow followed us down all those highway miles—her body a shadow on the other bed that could have belonged to anyone, could have been an axe murderer for all I knew, but I just closed my eyes and willed whatever future was coming to hurry, I was tired of waiting for it. On my second waking the sun was shouldering its way into the room through the crack in the curtains, my girlfriend now missing from both beds, and the room was made strange by her disappearance so that I flung myself out from under the covers. I found her in the bathroom with her hands on either side of the sink, the water running and There’s something wrong with it Liv she said.
November 10, 2021
        The fathers drowned and scientists were baffled.
          All over the world fathers met their end in water. Fishing fathers drowned in rivers, swimming fathers drowned in lakes, tanning fathers drowned in backyard pools. Bathing fathers drowned in tubs and surfing fathers were sucked in the sea’s undertow. Fathers panning for gold drowned in creeks. A father was found dead with his head in an overflowing sink near dishes slick with syrup from breakfast. A father in a bathrobe was discovered face down in a puddle in the parking lot of a department store. Deep within a national forest, a father was found upended with both black rubber boots stuck up high from a primitive outhouse’s chamber hole. He would have looked funny if he weren’t dead.
          Fathers in other countries, fathers of celebrities, rich fathers, poor fathers, fathers only known in passing, cherished fathers, stepfathers, fathers of strangers and fathers of friends. They drowned and drowned.
November 3, 2021
   The day you told me the world was ending, you had inquired about a particular scent for treating your mother’s lapses in memory (further complicating the matter by saying that your father, the primary witness to her memory loss, was also deteriorating himself). I assured you there was no such perfume.

            As a joke or token of consolation, I showed you a favorite scent of my mother’s, which had played no small part in enchanting my father. It was a perfume heavy with middle notes, or heart-notes, as we call it, which take longer to dissipate. It had no medical basis for treating pre-existing memory loss, but the scent alone was potent enough to provide an olfactory anchor at the moment of inhalation—a perfumed time-stamp. 

            Of course the world was ending, I said. Everything was always ending. 
advertisement