Rea Visiting Writers to Give Public Readings

November 04, 2009

November 4, 2009 — Novelist Claire Messud and poet Tony Hoagland are the 2009 Rea Visiting Writers for the University of Virginia's Creative Writing Program. The writers will deliver a public reading of their work on the University's Grounds in the coming months.

Novelist Claire Messud will read her fiction Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Poet Tony Hoagland will read from his work Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. in the U.Va. Bookstore mezzanine.

The Rea Writers also meet in individual conferences with the English department's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing students and give an informal talk about the craft of writing to graduate students and faculty.

An annual donation from the Dungannon Foundation makes the Rea Visiting Writers series possible. The Dungannon Foundation is administered by Elizabeth Richebourg Rea in memory of her husband, Michael M. Rea, a U.Va. alumnus and devotee of the short story. In 1986, Mr. Rea founded the prestigious Rea Award for the Short Story; see www.reaaward.org for details.

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Claire Messud was born in the United States in 1966 to a French father and a Canadian mother, and was raised in Sydney, Australia and Toronto before returning to the States in 1980. Educated at Yale and Cambridge universities, she lived in London until 1995, where she was deputy editor of the Guardian newspaper's Women's Page.

Her first novel, "When the World Was Steady," and her book of novellas, "The Hunters," were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; her second novel, "The Last Life," was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Editor's Choice at The Village Voice; all three books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Her most recent novel, "The Emperor's Children," was on several best books of the year lists, including the Los Angeles Times, Economist, Chicago Tribune, and People magazine, and was named one of the "10 Best Books of the Year" for 2006 by the New York Times Book Review.

Messud has taught at various colleges and universities, including Amherst and Kenyon colleges, and in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College. She has written reviews and articles for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Nation, Daily Telegraph (London), London Times, TLS, and others.

She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship and the Straus Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Somerville, Mass. with her husband and children.

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Tony Hoagland, born in 1953 in Fort Bragg, N.C., has published five books of poetry His forthcoming poetry collection, "Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty," by Greywolf Press, will appear in March. A chapbook, "Hard Rain," was published by Hollyridge Press in 2005. His poetry collection "What Narcissism Means to Me" (Graywolf Press, 2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An earlier collection, "Donkey Gospel" (1998), received the James Laughlin Award; and "Sweet Ruin" (1992) was chosen by Donald Justice for the 1992 Brittingham Prize in Poetry and also won the Zacharis Award from Emerson College.

Hoagland's other honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the O.B. Hardison Prize for Poetry and Teaching from the Folger Shakespeare Library, as well as the Poetry Foundation's 2005 Mark Twain Award in recognition of his contribution to humor in American poetry. He currently teaches at the University of Houston and Warren Wilson College.

For information, contact Jeb Livingood at jsl9z@virginia.edu or 434-924-6675

— By Anne Bromley