November 2013 – October 2014
Prize-winning fiction and nonfiction writer BK Loren will speak about Theft, her debut novel. The novel is an exploration into how and why we need family, (however it is defined), and how beauty is dependent upon loss. Loren will speak about why focusing on publishing can kill a story, and the crossovers and differences between creative nonfiction and fiction.
“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” That anonymous quote captures an insight that makes sense to Cynthia Bishop, a storyteller who grew up in Greece, Italy and Egypt. As a young person, she collected folk tales from around the world, and as a founding member of Salt City Storytellers, Bishop learned to perform traditional as well as personal tales. She will perform some of those tales for us, and will talk about her work as a storyteller and as a narrator of audio books for youth.
Owen Benjamin has been a regular on MTV’s Punk’d and E!’s Chelsea Lately. He’s had his own special, Comedy Central Presents Owen Benjamin, and his feature credits include I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Jack and Jill with Adam Sandler. He has done stand up at the Aspen Comedy Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival, and toured with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. His short films and web series (Owen Benjamin Presents and Gaytown) have accumulated over 10 million hits. He currently stars on the hit TBS sitcom, Sullivan and Sons. Benjamin will talk about the interrelationships between acting, writing, and other aspects of film and television.
Recently retired SUNY Oswego political science professor Bruce Altschuler (author of Shakespeare and Politics) addresses why today’s audiences should care about Hamlet.
SUNY Oswego English professor Patrick Murphy presents a conversation about Shakespeare and playwright Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead).
In between these discussions, the female vocal ensemble Concinnity entertains with music based on Shakespearean texts.
A writing-life blogger for the Huffington Post, Stephanie Vanderslice’s scholarly essays on the teaching of creative writing have been published nationally and internationally. She has published three books, including Rethinking Creative Writing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and online publications. In 2012 she was named CASE U.S. Professor of the Year for the state of Arkansas; in 2009 she was named ACTELA College English Teacher of the Year. Vanderslice will speak about literary citizenship.
Richard Duggin’s fiction includes three novels: The Music Box Treaty, Woman Refusing To Leave, and Snipehunters. Duggin has taught fiction writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for the past fifty years. In 2005 he founded and is currently director of the University of Nebraska MFA in Writing program, a low-residency graduate program in creative writing in which he currently directs and teaches. Duggin’s talk is called “Psst! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” He’ll discuss the authorial voice behind the narrator.
ORI (the Oswego Reading Intiative) presents a talk on the book selected as the reading for this year’s first-year and transfer students. Professor Eric Cheyfitz of Cornell University discusses his paper (co-authored with Professor Shari Huhndorf of UC Berkeley) “Genocide By Other Means: US Federal Indian Law and Violence Against Native Women in Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.”
The Oswego Reading Initiative (ORI) committee presents a talk on this year’s choice for first-year and transfer students. Scott Manning Stevens addresses “Coming of Age along the Red Road: Observations of Louise Erdrich’s The Round House. Stevens, a citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, is Associate Professor and Director of Native American Studies at Syracuse University.
Penny Guisinger lives and writes on the easternmost tip of the United States. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many literary journals and her reviews appear regularly in The Quoddy Tides and The Review Review. Her essay “Coming Out” was named as a finalist in the 2013 Fourth Genre essay contest, and the essay “Provincetown” was awarded an editor’s choice award from Solstice. She is the founding organizer of Iota: The Conference of Short Prose. A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, Penny shares her home with her wife and the two most beautiful, talented children in the world. Guisinger will talk about “Living a Writerly Life.”