Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Peter Orner - Indelible

  • October 27, 2022
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • ONSITE - 620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL /REMOTE

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Why do certain moments in fiction stick with us for years while others we almost forget the moment we finish reading the sentence? It's a question that has preoccupied Orner for his entire writing life and in this talk Orner will discuss what has stayed with him from works by William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Henry Green, Juan Rulfo, Saul Bellow, Penelope Fitzgerald, John Edgar Wideman, Bette Howland, and others to explore how such indelible moments are created -- and why they seem to stick. Of course, this is personal to the reader but one thing Orner has noticed over the years is that, for him, indelible moments aren't always ones that have a great deal of action -- sometimes it is fiction's quiet detonations that have the most lasting and memorable impact. 

Chicago-born Peter Orner is the author of Still No Word From You: Notes in the Margin, coming out in October 2022, plus two novels published by Little, Brown: The Second Coming Of Mavala Shikongo, 2006 and Love And Shame And Love (2010), and three story collections also published by Little, Brown: Esther Stories (2001, 2013 with a foreword by Marilynne Robinson) Last Car Over The Sagamore Bridge (2013), and Maggie Brown & Others (2019). Peter’s essay collection/ memoir, Am I Alone Here?: Notes On Reading To Live And Living To Read(Catapult, 2016) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Peter is also the editor of three non-fiction books/oral histories for the Voice of Witness Series: Underground America: Narratives Of Undocumented Lives (VOW/ McSweeney's, 2008), Hope Deferred: Narratives Of Zimbabwean Lives (VOW/ McSweeney's, 2011) (co-edited with Annie Holmes), and Lavil: Live, Love And Death In Port-Au-Prince (VOW/ Verso Press, 2017) (co-edited with Evan Lyon). 

Peter's fiction and non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, the Atlantic MonthlyGrantaThe Paris ReviewThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, Ploughshares and many other publications. Stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and three times received a Pushcart Prize. Peter has been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as a California Book Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Writing, The Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and has been a finalist for the Pen/ Hemingway Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 2017-2018, Peter was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in Namibia where he taught at the University of Namibia. 

Peter directs the Creative Writing Program at Dartmouth College, and lives with his family in Norwich, Vermont where he's also a member of the volunteer fire department. 

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