Writing and the Art of Not Knowing
"We work in the dark," said Henry James. "Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task." Two completely original, and often hilarious writers, Saunders (Tenth of December) and Cooper (The Bill from My Father) begrudgingly agree. Saunders and Cooper step out of the dark and onto the stage to discuss how they grapple with the difficult, but essential challenges of their creative work.
Bernard Cooper is an author of The Bill From My Father, and the recipient of many awards including the PEN/USA Ernest Hemingway Award, O. Henry Prize, a Guggenheim grant, and a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship in literature. His work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and literary reviews, including five volumes of The Best American Essays, Harper's Magazine, The Paris Review, Story, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. He has contributed to National Public Radio's "This American Life", and Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Cooper currently teaches in writing programs at Bennington College and USC.
George Saunders, a MacArthur Genius Grant fellow, is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, including Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, as well as a collection of essays and a book for children. He teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University. His most recent work is a collection of short stories, Tenth of December.
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design.