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Professor kicks off Spring Readers’ Series

The Binghamton Center for Writers’ Spring Readers’ Series starts its semester of events at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, with a reading by John Vernon.

Vernon, distinguished professor of English, will read from his latest book, Lucky Billy, a historical novel based on the life of Billy the Kid. The book has been featured in the New York Times Book Review and was named a top 10 book of the year by the Seattle Times. The Arizona Historical Society also named it as a 2008 Southwest Book of the Year.

Vernon’s other books include All for Love: Baby Doe and Silver Dollar; The Last Canyon; La Salle; Lindbergh’s Son; Peter Doyle; and the memoir A Book of Reasons. The reading will take place in EB-110.

The rest of the schedule is:

• Feb. 24: Jan Beatty will read from her recently released collection Red Sugar at 8 p.m. in EB-110. Beatty is a Pittsburgh poet whose earlier books are Boneshaker and Mad River, winner of 1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.

• March 10: Sylvia Watanabe will be featured at  8 p.m. in EB-110. Watanabe is a Binghamton University alumna and the author of Talking to the Dead, which was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Award for fiction and named one of the 10 best books of 1993 by People magazine. She also is co-editor of two anthologies of Asian-American fiction.

• March 15: Ron Hansen, 7 p.m. at the Anderson Center Chamber Hall. Hansen, who will read as the John Gardner Reader, is the author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Other works include Atticus, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; Desperadoes; Hitler’s Niece; Isn’t It Romantic?; Mariette in Ecstasy; and his latest, Exiles.

• March 24: Albert Goldbarth will be featured at 8 p.m. in EB-110. Goldbarth is the winner of the Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award for The Kitchen Sink: New & Selected Poems 1972-2007 and recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s 2008 Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He is the author of 20 books of poetry and is the only poet to have won the American Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry twice.

• March 25: Raymond Hammond from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Reinhardt Room, ground floor, Library North (LNG-332 Seminar Room). Hammond is a poet and editor of the literary journal New York Quarterly. Meet with Hammond in an informal conversation on publishing, craft and the writing life. 

• April 14: Jonis Agee,  8 p.m. in EB-110. Agee is the first Binghamton University alum to have won the Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award (selected by a judge unaffiliated with the University). Agee will read from her prize-winning novel The River Wife. She is the author of 13 books, three of which have received Notable Book of the Year recognition from The New York Times.

• April 21: Alicia Erian at 8 p.m. in EB-110. Erian is also a Binghamton University alumna and most recently the author of Towelhead, her first novel, which has been made into a movie by Alan Ball (American Beauty; Six Feet Under).  Erian is also the author of a well-received short story collection, The Brutal Language of Love.

• April 22: Gina Frangello, 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Reinhardt Room, ground floor, Library North (LNG-332 Seminar Room). Frangello is a novelist and editor of the literary press OV Books (and formerly the editor of the journal Other Voices). Meet with Frangello in an informal conversation on publishing, craft and the writing life. 

More information on these events is available at You can reach the Center for Writers at 777-2713 or

The Readers’ Series is funded in part by support from the BU Alumni Association and by Poets and Writers, Inc.,  through a grant from the NYS Council on the Arts. Watanabe’s reading is supported in part by the Department of Asian and Asian-American Studies.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08