Following up on last season’s “Good-bye, Sailor” and 2014’s “Rich and Strange,” we invite you to a third program of music and words produced for Twenty Summers by M.T. Anderson, National Book Award–winning author of Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. Our theme this year is the role of the rustic and the rural in the American imagination. The Aurea Ensemble, praised by theHuffington Post for its “intensity, superb sound, precision, and musicality that makes everything soar,” will play fiddle-tunes, hymn-tunes, and modern pieces based on traditional Americana. Movements for string quartet—culminating in Ben Johnston’s deeply moving Quartet No. 4 (“Amazing Grace”)—will alternate with excerpts from works by Robert Frost, John James Audubon, S. J. Perelman, and others, to be read by M. T. Anderson and Twenty Summers cofounder Julia Glass.
An evening of classical music and readings about nautical wanderlust. The musical performance by L’Académie chamber orchestra featured dramatic pieces by Henry Purcell, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Marin Marais, and others. Literary excerpts, ranging from Homer to Robert Browning, were read by National Book Award–winning authors M. T. Anderson and Julia Glass.
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of the food memoir A Tiger in the Kitchen and editor of the new fiction anthology Singapore Noir, talked about and read from her work.
Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein joined Twenty Summers cofounder Julia Glass for a day of conversations with writers on May 24, 2014.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is a philosopher and a novelist and the author of ten books. Her novels include The Mind-Body Problem, Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics, and 36 Arguments for The Existence of God: A Work of Fiction. She is also the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover magazine, and the award-winning Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. Her latest book is Plato at The Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away. Goldstein has been received numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 1996 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the “genius” prize. She has also been named the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association and Free-thought Heroine by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is visiting Professor of Philosophy at New College of the Humanities in London.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received seven honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and often writes for the New York Times, Time, and the New Republic. He has been named Humanist of the Year and has appeared on such prominent lists as Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy‘s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time‘s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”
Bestselling novelists Andre Dubus III, Julia Glass, and Edward Kelsey Moore read from and talk about their new novels.
Andre Dubus III is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and a memoir, Townie. His most recent book, Dirty Love, published in the fall of 2013, was a New York Times “Notable Book” selection, a New York Times “Editors’ Choice,” a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus Reviews “Starred Best Book of 2013.” Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children.
Julia Glass is the author of the novels And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, The Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” Her third book, I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the 2009 SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. She has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Other awards for her fiction include the Sense of Place Award, the Tobias Wolff Award, and the Pirate’s Alley Medal for Best Novella. Her essays have been widely anthologized, most recently in Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book, edited by Sean Manning, and in Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, edited by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon. Also a teacher of creative writing workshops at programs ranging from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown to the M.F.A. program at Brooklyn College, Julia lives with her two sons and their father on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, which was awarded the 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was chosen as a 2013 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also named a 2014 Illinois Reads book by the Illinois Reading Council. Moore’s essays and short fiction have appeared in The New York Times and a number of literary magazines, including Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell. His short fiction has been featured on Chicago Public Radio’s Stories on Stage series. In addition to his writing, Edward maintains a career as a professional cellist, performing with a number of ensembles, including the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Edward lives in Chicago with his partner of many years. He is currently at work on his second novel.