Information Update - Spring 2012
Jay Parini to Receive Distinguished Author Award
- On September 29, 2012, the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library will present the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award to Jay Parini. This event is one of several planned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Weinberg Memorial Library.
- Since 1982, Parini has been the D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College. His writing and scholarship include criticism: Theodore Roethke, an American Romantic (1979); Why Poetry Matters (2008); Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America (2008); biography: John Steinbeck (1995), Robert Frost: A Life (1999), One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner (2004); and poetry Anthracite Country (1982) and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005). In December 2009, a film adaptation of The Last Station, his 1990 novel about the last year in the life of Tolstoy, received two Oscar nominations. His most recent novel is The Passages of H.M (2010).
- An excellent discussion of the interplay of the various genres in which Jay Parini writes is available in an April 2006 Bookslut interview http://www.bookslut.com/features/2006_04_008406.php. Parini's feelings about writing are excerpted from that interview:
- "I write because I like doing it," says Parini. "I can't wait to get out my notebook in the morning, and to start. I always begin the day by working on poetry. I love that moment, when I first open the blank page, and when I begin to hear the voice accumulating in my head, then transferring that energy to the page. I always write poems in longhand, in a notebook; later, I type them into a computer. But I do many revisions by hand first, in my notebook. I like the feel of writing fiction and criticism, too; I work on these after I've finished with the poetry for the day. Novels are absorbing projects. I submerse myself in the subject, always; when I'm working on a novel, it's always there, somewhere, on my mind. Criticism and biography have their own charms, and I like to do them as a break from the strictly creative work, although I don't really see much difference between a novel and a biography; in both cases, you're selecting among a zillion possible facts, finding a narrative, creating order from chaos. I like to use language, and so it's thrilling to let the language roll off the fingers, off the mental tongue. I always feel grounded when I'm writing, which is probably the real reason I write. When I don't write, I feel disconnected from the world, and that is an uncomfortable feeling."
- Parini has also presented a lecture in the 2009-2010 Schemel Forum series. This topic was The Last Station: How a Novel Became a Film, with a brief glimpse of the film.
- Previous recipients of the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award include: Steve Berry (2011) William Berhardt ( 2009), Mary Gordon (2008), Philip Margolin (2006), Linda Fairstein (2005), Lisa Scottoline (2001), Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark (2000), and Malachy McCourt (1999). The Distinguished Author Award Series began with another Pennsylvanian, Jack Palance, in 1997. For more information about the Friends of the Library, the Schemel Forum, or to reserve a seat for the Parini dinner award ceremony, contact Kym Fetsko (570-941-7816).