Russell Banks: A Reading
Russell Banks, Author
Description: Fans of prolific fiction writer Russell Banks will find great comfort hearing his voice bring his writing to life. Viewers unfamiliar with Banks vivid yet stark descriptions will enjoy this new discovery. His short story, The Moor, deals with an unlikely encounter between a middle-aged man and his "first love," now an 80-year-old woman. The second and longer reading consists of the first chapter of The Darling, a novel Banks began taking notes on five years ago, and started writing a mere three years ago. Banks comments with typical understatement, "Novelists are people who have a great affection for delayed rewards." The plot of the novel, as gleaned from this small sample, surprisingly connects a woman running an organic farm in New England to Liberia's bloody and endless civil war.
About the Speaker(s): Russell Banks was raised in a working-class environment, which has played a major role in his writing. Banks, who was the first in his family to go to college, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has tried his hand at plumbing, as a shoe salesman and window trimmer. His fiction titles include Searching for Survivors, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, The Relation of My Imprisonment, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter and Success Stories. His books Continental Drift, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter were made into movies. The Angel on the Roof is his first collection of short stories since the 1980's. He has also contributed to The Boston Globe Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and Harper's. Mr. Banks has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship and the O. Henry and Best American Short Story Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His just-completed novel, The Darling, is due from HarperCollins in fall 2004.
Host(s): School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies
Tape #: T18019.
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