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Patricia Marx Scores a Hit with Let's Be Less Stupid

marxPatricia Marx, who teaches fiction and creative nonfiction for the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program, has scored a hit with the recent release of her latest book, Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt To Maintain My Mental Faculties.

Published by Grand Central Publishing and released July 14, 2015, Let's Be Less Stupid uses Marx's trademark sharp-edged humor to tackle one of the most challenging aspects of aging: the mind's decline. From forgetting her brother-in-law's name while he was wearing a nametag to hanging up the phone to look for her phone, Marx "confesses to her failures," according to the publisher, "and not only to make you feel better about yourself."

Marx, a staff writer for The New Yorker and former writer for Saturday Night Live, addresses such conundrums as "if there are more neural connections in your brain than stars in the Milky Way, why did you put the butter dish in your nightstand drawer?" She also describes her quest to get smarter, or to at least make a stand against the onslaught of stupidity. Her efforts include such activities as "learning Cherokee, popping pills (not the good kind), and listening to - who's the guy who didn't write dum de de dum but the other one?"

In a review headlined "Equal Parts Sarcasm, Silliness And Smarts In Let's Be Less Stupid” at npr.org, Heller McAlpin describes the book as "a very funny chronicle of [Marx's] four-month effort to 'turbocharge' her brain and 'jump off the cognitive escalator heading downward to you-know-where.' "

NPR’s Arun Rath also did an interview with Marx for "All Things Considered."

Writing in The New York Times, Sarah Lyall, who refers to the book as "a distracted meditation on absent-mindedness," notes that "I read Let's Be Less Stupid over a few days - you can dip in and out, the way you might take an occasional swig of whiskey (or whatever works) as a pick-me-up."

Lyall's review also celebrates all of Marx's oeuvre, from such earlier nonfiction works as Pets Allowed to her two novels on "the vexing issue of romance," including Starting from Happy, and her "wonderful articles in The New Yorker.  

Marx is the author of twelve books, including the novels Starting From Happy and Him Her Him Again The End of Him, both of which were finalists for the Thurber Prize for Humor, and several collaborations with the cartoonist Roz Chast. Marx was the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon. She has taught screenwriting at Princeton University and, according to her bio on the Stony Brook Southampton website, "can take a baked potato out of the oven with her bare hand."

 

 

patricia marx Patricia Marx Is One of Three SBU Faculty to Receive a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship

Novelist Patricia Marx, a member of the Southampton Arts faculty in the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literature, was one of three Stony Brook University faculty members to be awarded a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Guggenheim Fellows are awarded annually by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to artists, scholars and scientists in all fields. This year, 175 Fellowships were awarded based on "distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for the future."

Marx is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a former writer for Saturday Night Live. She is the author of twelve books, including the novels Starting From Happy and Him Her Him Again The End of Him, both of which were finalists for the Thurber Prize for Humor, and several collaborations with the cartoonist Roz Chast. Marx was the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon. She has taught screenwriting at Princeton University and is currently teaching a course on humor this term at Stony Brook Manhattan.

Matthew Barnson and Rowan Ricardo Phillips were also selected from Stony Brook. Barnson is an Assistant Professor of Composition in the Department of Music. Phillips is an Associate Professor and Director of the Poetry Center in the Department of English.

"A Guggenheim Fellowship is a most esteemed honor and reflects the highest levels of scholarship and professionalism," said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. "Stony Brook University is very proud to have these outstanding faculty members chosen for this venerated distinction."

 

Jules Feiffer Interviewed by NPR on Occasion of New Biography, Out of Line

Southampton Arts faculty member Jules Feiffer was interviewed by NPR's Robert Seigel recently to talk about his extraordinary career, which is the subject of the new biography, Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer, written by Martha Fay.

Excerpts from the interview and the full audio can be found at the NPR website here.

 

Laura Lippman in Conversation with Daniel Menaker at Writers Speak April 29

lippmanLaura Lippman will be interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker in the next installment of the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The author will read from and talk about her work on Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

In the final installment of the spring Writers Speak series, on Wednesday, May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by "the stars of tomorrow," students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.  

Laura Lippman is the author of six New York Times bestselling novels, including three of the award-winning "accidental P.I." Tess Monaghan series, and the stand-alone novels What the Dead Know, Life Sentences, and I'd Know You Anywhere.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1997, she has won virtually every major award given to U.S. crime writing, including the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Agatha Award, Nero Wolfe Award, Shamus Award, and the Quill Award.

In addition to his 22-year stint at The New Yorker, novelist and memoirist Dan Menaker has served as the executive editor in chief of Random House and currently teaches in the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway. For more information, call 631-632-5030. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Novelist Roxana Robinson Joins Writers Speak Series on April 22

robinsonRoxana Robinson will be the next guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The author will read and talk about her work on Wednesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

In the final installment featuring guest authors in the spring Writers Speak series, Laura Lippman will be interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker on Wednesday, April 29. And on May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by "the stars of tomorrow": students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.  

Roxana Robinson is the author of five novels, including Sparta, winner of the U.S. Marine Corps James Webb Award for Distinguished Fiction. Her 2008 novel, Cost, was named one of the five best novels of the year by The Washington Post. She has also written three collections of short stories, as well as an award-winning biography, Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway. For more information, call 631-632-5030. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

McCormick, Kriegman to Headline Writers Speak Wednesdays on April 15

mccormickPatricia McCormick and Mitchell Kriegman will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The two authors will read and talk about their work on Wednesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

A mentor in the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing Children's Literature Fellows program, Patricia McCormick is a two-time National Book Award finalist. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: Never Fall Down, based on the true story of an 11-year-old boy who survived the Killing Fields of Cambodia by playing music; Purple Heart, a psychological exploration of the killing of a 10-year-old boy in Iraq; Sold, a moving account of sexual trafficking, which was recently made into an independent film; My Brother's Keeper, a realistic view of teenage substance abuse; and Cut, an intimate portrait of one girl's struggle with self-injury.

McCormick also worked with Malala Yousafzai to write the New York Times bestseller I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), about the Pakistani young lady who defied the Taliban by pursuing her education. Shot in the head one afternoon as she was returning home from school, she lived to inspire millions and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kriegman is the author of Being Audrey Hepburn, and an upcoming novel due out this year, Things I Can't Explain,  a modern-day, mid-20s follow-up on the lead character of his groundbreaking cult classic '90s Nickelodeon show, "Clarissa Explains It All."

kriegmanKriegman, who formerly worked on television projects out of a studio in East Hampton, was also the executive story editor of the original "Ren and Stimpy," "Rugrats," and "Doug and Rocko's Modern Life." He won four Emmys for his work on children's TV shows, including "Bear in the Big Blue House," "Book of Pooh" and "It's a Big Big World."

He has written original screenplays for Rogue, Universal, Disney, Columbia Pictures and others, and his short stories have been published in The New Yorker, the National Lampoon, Glamour, New York Press and Harper's Bazaar.

Other writers scheduled for the spring series include Roxana Robinson, April 22, and Laura Lippman interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker, April 29. On May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by "the stars of tomorrow": students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

MFA in Creative Writing & Literature student will teach a War Memoir course at Yale

Adrian Bonenberger, an MFA student in Stony Brook Southampton's MFA program in creative writing and literature, will be teaching a course he began developing in CWL 581, the Practicum in Teaching Writing, next fall as part of the College Seminar Program at Yale University. The course, called "Memoir and the War on Terror," will be offered through Jonathan Edwards College.

Read the whole story in Happenings.

 

Poet Alice Fulton Reads April 1 in Writers Speak Wednesdays Series

alice fultonPoet Alice Fulton will be the next guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The author will read on Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

On Wednesday, April 15, author and MFA in Creative Writing and Literature faculty member Patricia McCormick and filmmaker and novelist Mitchell Kriegman will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak series.

The recipient of a 2011 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature "to honor exceptional accomplishment," Alice Fulton's eight books include The Nightingales of Troy: Connected Stories; Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems; and Felt, which was awarded the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress.

Other books include Sensual Math; Powers Of Congress; Palladium, winner of the National Poetry Series and the Society of Midland Authors Award; and Dance Script With Electric Ballerina, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award. A collection of essays, Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry, was published by Graywolf Press.

Her work has been included in The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry; The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine; five editions of The Best American Poetry series; and the 10th anniversary edition and the 25th anniversary edition (forthcoming) of The Best of the Best American Poetry. Two stories from The Nightingales of Troy were selected for the Best American Short Stories series, another for the Pushcart Prize, and a fourth for the Editor's Prize in Fiction.

Other writers scheduled for the spring series include: Patricia McCormick and Mitchell Kriegman, April 15; Roxana Robinson, April 22; and Laura Lippman interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker, April 29.

On May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by "the stars of tomorrow": students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway.

 

'Self-Publishing and Small Presses' at March 11 Writers Speak Wednesday

Special guests Sande Boritz Berger, Céline Keating, Judy L. Mandel, and Kamy Wicoff will discuss "What's New in Self-Publishing and Small Presses" in the next installment of the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The panel discussion will be held on Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Sande Boritz Berger, who earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton, was awarded the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize for fiction. Her debut novel, Sweetness, was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards.

Céline Keating's new novel, Play for Me, will be published this spring by She Writes Press. Her debut novel, Layla, was published by Plain View Press.

Judy L. Mandel is the award-winning author of Replacement Child—A Memoir, published by Seal Press in 2013.

Kamy Wicoff is the best-selling author of I Do But I Don’t: Why the Way We Marry Matters. She is co-founder of SheWrites.com and She Writes Press, one of the world’s largest communities for women writers.

Other writers scheduled for the spring series include: Alice Fulton, April 1; Patricia McCormick and Mitchell Kriegman, April 15; Roxana Robinson, April 22; and Laura Lippman interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker, April 29. On May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by "the stars of tomorrow," students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway.

For more information, call 631-632-5030. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Five Faculty Writers Featured at Spring Writers Speak Wednesdays Series March 4

rosenblatt and sheehanMFA in Creative Writing and Literature faculty members Ursula Hegi, Susan Scarf Merrell, Roger Rosenblatt, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. All five writers will read on Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

The Wednesday, March 11, Writers Speak program will feature a panel discussion on publishing, "What’s New in Self-Publishing and Small Presses," with special guests Sande Boritz Berger, Céline Keating, Judy L. Mandel, and Kamy Wicoff.

Ursula Hegi is the author of 12 books. Her Burgdorf Cycle encompasses four of her novels: Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, The Vision of Emma Blau and Children and Fire. Her work has been translated into many languages, and her awards include the Italian Grinzane Cavour, an NEA Fellowship, and a PEN/Faulkner Award.

Susan Scarf Merrell is the fiction editor of The Southampton Review. Her most recent work is Shirley: A Novel, and she is also the author of the novel A Member of the Family and the nonfiction book The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships. Her short stories and essays have been published in the literary reviews Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Publishers Weekly online, Large Hearted Boy, The Southampton Review, The New Haven Review and elsewhere.

Distinguished Professor Roger Rosenblatt is the author of six off-Broadway plays and 15 books, published in 13 languages. His books include the New York Times bestsellers Kayak Morning, Unless It Moves the Human Heart and Making Toast, a memoir of his family, which initially appeared as an essay in The New Yorker. Other books are the novels Beet and Lapham Rising, another bestseller, as were Rules for Aging and Children of War, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy book prize. His most recent works are The Boy Detective and The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Silly Little Thing.

Julie Sheehan, the director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton, has published three poetry collections: Bar Book: Poems & Otherwise (W.W. Norton); Orient Point (W.W. Norton); and Thaw (Fordham). Her honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and NYFA Fellowship in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies.

Lou Ann Walker is the editor-in-chief of The Southampton Review. Her memoir, A Loss for Words, won a Christopher Award. Her other books include Hand, Heart & Mind and her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Life, Allure, Parade, The Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times Book Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Writer, and The Hopewell Review. Formerly an editor at Esquire and New York Magazine, she is also the author of several screenplays and is a member of the Writers Guild of America.

Other writers scheduled for the spring series include: Alice Fulton, April 1; Patricia McCormick and Mitchell Kriegman, April 15; Roxana Robinson, April 22; and Laura Lippman interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker, April 29.

On May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by “the stars of tomorrow”: students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.

 

Jessica Soffer Kicks off Spring Writers Speak Wednesdays Series Feb. 25

sofferNovelist Jessica Soffer will be the first guest in the spring Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. The author will read on Wednesday, February 25, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Soffer’s debut novel, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots (Mariner Books, 2014), much of which was written at the East Hampton Library, has already been published in eight countries. According to the author, it is a story about “accepting the people we love—the people we have to love and the people we choose to love, the families we’re given and the families we make.”

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots was featured in an NPR segment titled “Hidden Gems: 5 Summer Books That Deserve More Fanfare.” A review in O, The Oprah Magazine described the novel as “breathtaking prose” that “interweaves delectable descriptions of food with a profoundly redemptive story.”

Soffer earned her MFA at Hunter College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue and on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” She teaches fiction at Connecticut College and lives in New York City.

On Wednesday, March 4, MFA in Creative Writing and Literature faculty members Ursula Hegi, Susie Merrell, Roger Rosenblatt, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker will be the next guests in the spring Writers Speak series.

The Wednesday, March 11, Writers Speak program will feature a panel discussion on publishing, “What’s New in Self-Publishing and Small Presses,” with special guests Sande Boritz Berger, Céline Keating, Judy L. Mandel, and Kamy Wicoff.

Other writers scheduled for the spring series include: Alice Fulton, April 1; Patricia McCormick and Mitchell Kriegman, April 15; Roxana Robinson, April 22; and Laura Lippman interviewed by former New Yorker fiction editor Dan Menaker, April 29. On May 6, the evening will be devoted to readings by “the stars of tomorrow”: students enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. All readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.


Stony Brook Southampton Adds First MFA Degree in Film in the SUNY System

Applications Now Being Accepted for Fall 2015

New York and Southampton, NY, February 3, 2015—Stony Brook University announced today that the NY State Education Department has approved SUNY’s first ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film. With locations in Manhattan and Southampton, Stony Brook Southampton's innovative three-year graduate program in narrative film is led by Graduate Director Christine Vachon, Co-Founder of legendary indie production company, Killer Films. Under Vachon, students receive real-world, practical experience at an affordable SUNY tuition and an opportunity to work on movies produced by Killer Films.

Students in the 45-48 credit MFA program have worked on several Killer Films' productions, including STILL ALICE starring Julianne Moore, which earned her the Best Actress Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award® nomination, and the forthcoming NASTY BABY, starring Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat. Killer has produced over 80 acclaimed features, from Academy Award® winning BOYS DON’T CRY and Academy Award® nominated FAR FROM HEAVEN to Emmy Award® winning HBO mini-series MILDRED PIERCE, and soon-to-be released CAROL, directed by Todd Haynes, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Robert Reeves, Associate Provost of Southampton Graduate Arts, said, "We believe affordable, project-driven, in-the-practice programs are the future of graduate arts education. The new MFA in Film is the ideal fit for the advanced training we already offer in creative writing and theater. Our programs emphasize original storytelling and are taught by a faculty of the most distinguished practicing artists in the country. We welcome all aspiring filmmakers who want to pursue their art without signing on to a lifetime of debt."

Vachon said, "The coming year marks milestones for Killer Films and Stony Brook Southampton. We’ll celebrate the official launch of our MFA in Film as well as the 20th Anniversary of Killer Films. These are great achievements for us as an independent film company and a graduate school. We’re excited to continue re-inventing the traditional film school model and turning it on its head."

The MFA program focuses on screenwriting, directing, and producing, with production cycles culminating in a feature screenplay, a portfolio of short films including an MFA thesis film or a final producer’s package. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Deadline to qualify for financial aid is March 15, 2015 and for domestic students not applying for aid, the deadline is July 1.

Magdalene Brandeis, Associate Director, said, "We were challenged to create an MFA program that best equipped a variety of students to stay true to their voices and their stories while keeping up with the ever-changing technological and financial landscapes of the film industry. We’ve pioneered an MFA in Film that’s as adaptive as the medium."

RSVP to MFAManhattan@stonybrook.edu to attend the upcoming Open House and learn more about courses, faculty, scholarships and financial aid.  

OPEN HOUSE

Thursday, February 12 (6-7pm)
STONY BROOK MANHATTAN
387 Park Avenue South, 3rd Floor

ONLINE OPEN HOUSE
Thursday, February 26 (7pm EST)

About Southampton Graduate Arts
Southampton Graduate Arts is a vibrant gathering of MFA programs in creative writing, theatre and film. Film classes are offered on campuses in Southampton and Manhattan. The programs attract a faculty of world renowned authors, playwrights, directors and filmmakers. The film program, added in 2012 and launched as an MFA in 2015, features the latest Canon cameras, state-of-the-art lighting equipment, and is supported by the prestigious Sklar Collection on the history of American cinema. For more information, visit www.stonybrook.edu/film or contact 631-632-5010/southamptonarts@stonybrook.edu.

 

julianne moore

Killer Films' Still Alice Nets Golden Globe Win with Julianne Moore

Still Alice, a movie co-produced by Stony Brook-connected Killer Films, picked up a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) in the annual awards ceremony televised Sunday evening.

The honor went to Julianne Moore, who portrays a woman afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease in the prime of her life.

Killer Films was co-founded by legendary producer and indie film powerhouse Christine Vachon, a Stony Brook faculty member who directs the graduate film program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Read more at Happenings HERE.