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Academics
November 6, 2008

Standing Room Only for Jonathan Lethem

SFC Community Welcomes Author to Start Walt Whitman Writers Series

Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem began his lecture to a standing room only crowd, Thursday, November 6 at the St. Francis College Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture & Education with a reading of two Walt Whitman poems, Mannahatta and Ah Poverties, Wincings, and Sulky Retreats.

It was an appropriate beginning for the first in what aims to become a long and storied program at St. Francis College, the Walt Whitman Writers Series, which will bring top contemporary authors to campus to share their work and writing experiences.

"We couldn't have asked for a more talented and engaging contemporary writer to kick off the Walt Whitman Series," said Assistant Academic Dean and English Professor Ian Maloney. "Lethem took this opportunity to talk directly to his readers and share a lot of personal insights about the way he works and the work itself."

In addition to the Whitman poems, Lethem also read extensively from his New York Times Best Seller, The Fortress of Solitude. He answered several questions from the audience and also conducted a one-on-one interview with Assistant Dean Maloney, which can be viewed online.

Lethem is a Brooklyn native who has penned several novels including the highly praised Motherless Brooklyn, Gun, with Occasional Music and his most recent novel, You Don't Love Me Yet.

"Lethem's appearance generated a great deal of excitement both on campus and in the community," said Professor Athena Devlin, a co-creator of the series. "The audience was a nice mix of students, faculty and staff as well as many people from the surrounding Brooklyn community. Afterwards many in the crowd told me they are already eager to see who we will bring in the future. That kind of feedback shows us that with just one event the Walt Whitman Series has already put St. Francis College on the literary map as a place where successful writers can come to share and inspire."

The next author to come to St. Francis College for the Walt Whitman Writers Series will be Darcey Steinke, author of the new memoir, Easter Everywhere and several novels including, Milk: A Novel, Suicide Blonde and Jesus Saves. A date for spring 2009 is still being worked out for this appearance.

Walt Whitman, a long-time Brooklyn resident who often included the then-city of Brooklyn in his work, was a natural choice to be honored by naming the writer series for him.

The Walt Whitman Writers Series is sponsored by St. Francis College, the Department of English and the Academic Dean's Office.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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