Visiting writer Mary Gaitskill will give public reading Thursday

January 12, 2004

The Centre College English Program will sponsor a free fiction reading and book signing by award-winning author Mary Gaitskill 7 p.m. Thursday at in the Norton Center for the Arts board room.

In 1991, Gaitskill published her first novel, "Two Girls Fat and Thin." Her fiction often explores the theme of how people seek intimacy but don't know how to achieve it. The Boston Globe wrote, "Gaitskill's unparalleled ability to render the real in all its textures and bring it sharply before all of a reader's senses is complemented by her uncanny accuracy at recapturing both emotion and thought."

Gaitskill has published two short story collections, "Bad Behavior" and "Because They Wanted To." The latter was hailed by The New York Times as "mesmerizing" and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner award in 1998. Her story "Secretary" was the basis for the feature film of the same name.

Mark Rasmussen, associate professor and chair of the English program at Centre, says, "Mary Gaitskill is quite simply one of the most extraordinarily gifted fiction writers working today. What strikes me perhaps the most about her work is the intense lyricism of her language combined with her unflinching ability to probe the darkest, most extreme aspects of our experiences as vital bodies and minds."


Gaitskill is on campus during the CentreTerm and serve as visiting writer-in-residence. She is teaching a workshop on creative fiction writing.

"Mary is a famously gifted mentor of young writers, and having her at Centre to teach our students and read from her current work is truly a special opportunity for us," says Rasmussen.

Gaitskill was born in 1954 in Lexington. She has taught creative writing at the University of California, the University of Houston, New York University, Brown University and Syracuse University.

Gaitskill's stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Esquire, Best American Short Stories (1993) and The O. Henry Prize Stories (1998). In 2002, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction.

Gaitskill will read from the two novels she is currently writing and will answer questions about her work.

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