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English

Department of English

Friday, March 28th at 4:00 p.m. in Norman James Theatre

The jewel in the crown of the Sophie Kerr Series each year is Sophie Kerr Weekend, and the keynote event of Sophie Kerr Weekend 2008 will be a much-anticipated reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley. Smiley, who holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, is the author of 11 novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1992. She also is the author of four books of nonfiction, including Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005). Her essays have been published in Vogue, The New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times, The Nation and many other publications.

Smiley's latest novel, Ten Days in the Hills, was published earlier this year by Knopf/Random House. A re-imagining of Boccaccio's Decameron set among the Hollywood crowd in the opening days of the Iraq War in 2003, Ten Days in the Hills has enjoyed universal acclaim. "The book is generating early buzz," observed The Wall Street Journal. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly hailed the hot new novel as a "scintillating tale. Smiley delivers a delightful, subtly observant sendup of Tinseltown folly, yet she treats her characters . with warmth and seriousness."The Philadelphia Inquirer praises the author for "delivering a Tinseltown classic." The Los Angeles Times Book Review declared the novel "a blazing farce, a fiery satire of contemporary celebrity culture and a rich, simmering meditation on the price of war and fame and desire."The Times U.K. called it a "highly entertaining yet thoughtful examination of postmillenial America."

Dubbed "the reigning master of social satire" by Elle magazine, Smiley received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2006.

Veronique de Turenne interviewed Smiley for NPR.

Visit Random House for more information for more information about Ten Days in the Hills.

Click to enlarge photos.

Jane Smiley speaks of novel writing and King Lear to a full house
Jane Smiley speaks of novel writing and King Lear to a full house.
Students pack the front of Norman James for the reading
Students pack the front of Norman James for the reading.
Students pack the stairs to either side of Jane Smiley for the special Q and A session at the Hynson Ringold House
Students pack the stairs to either side of Jane Smiley for the special Q and A session at the Hynson Ringold House.
Students and prospective students alike participate in the conversation.
Students and prospective students alike participate in the conversation.
Lauren Davenport '10 stands for a better view.
Lauren Davenport '10 stands for a better view.
Smiley answered questions about novels, the writing process, inspiration, and her own characters.
Smiley answered questions about novels, the writing process, inspiration, and her own characters.
Lauren Campbell '09 asks Smiley to sign the article Campbell wrote in the <em>Collegian</em> about Smiley's book.
Lauren Campbell '09 asks Smiley to sign the article Campbell wrote in the Collegian about Smiley's book.
Jane Smiley reads from her book <em>Ten Days in the Hills</em>.
Jane Smiley reads from her book Ten Days in the Hills.
Marielle Latrick '08 approaches Smiley to get her book signed.
Marielle Latrick '08 approaches Smiley to get her book signed.
Jane Smiley answers further questions at a special Q and A session after dinner at the Hynson Ringold House with prospective students and their student hosts.
Jane Smiley answers further questions at a special Q and A session after dinner at the Hynson Ringold House with prospective students and their student hosts.
Students peer through the railings on the stairs to get a closer view for the Q and A session.
Students peer through the railings on the stairs to get a closer view for the Q and A session.
Smiley fields questions from everyone, even the Director of the Literary House, Josh Shenk.
Smiley fields questions from everyone, even the Director of the Literary House, Josh Shenk.
A prospective student and Mac Boyle '11 have the best seats in the house.
A prospective student and Mac Boyle '11 have the best seats in the house.
Students kept Smiley's pen moving after the Q and A session.
Students kept Smiley's pen moving after the Q and A session.