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The Department of Literary Arts at Brown University will present Unspeakable Practices V: Celebrating the Work of Robert Coover, a multi-day festival of readings, music and panels featuring such writers as Joanna Scott, Rick Moody, Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, and many others, May 1 – 3.
Unspeakable Practices will honor the life and work of novelist Robert Coover, Professor of Literary Arts, who will retire this spring after 33 years teaching at Brown.
Widely acknowledged as an innovator in the field of post-modern American fiction, Coover, along with “such writers as Thomas Pynchon, William Gass, Donald Barthelme and John Barth, broke open the carapace of postwar American realism to reveal a fantastical funhouse of narrative possibilities,” according to Hari Kunzru of The Guardian. Michiko Kakuntaini of The New York Times has said “Of all the postmodern writers, Robert Coover is probably the funniest and most malicious, mixing up broad social and political satire with vaudeville turns, lewd pratfalls, and clever word plays that make us rethink both the mechanics of the world and our relationship to it.”
Author of more than a dozen books, including, most recently, The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors’ Cut; Stepmother; and A Child Again, Coover has been the recipient of the William Faulkner, Brandeis University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment of the Arts, and Rea Lifetime Short Story awards, as well as of numerous other fellowships, prizes, and recognitions.
An outspoken supporter of free speech and freedom-to-write issues worldwide, he also worked, during his years at Brown, to establish the International Writers Project Fellowship, a program that annually brings to Providence one writer who has faced threats, harassment, imprisonment, and suppression of his or her work in nations throughout the world. Established in 2003, the International Writers Project has brought to the Brown campus writers from Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Cambodia, Burma, Zimbabwe, and the Congo, many of whom have subsequently remained in the U.S. to pursue writing careers.
The participants of Unspeakable Practices V are colleagues and former students who have worked with Robert Coover throughout his career.
All Unspeakable events will be free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Brown University Creative Arts Council, the Office of President Ruth Simmons, The Woods Fine Arts Lectureship Fund, and the Department of Literary Arts.