Hill Center & PEN/Faulkner Present:
Kseniya Melnik in Conversation with Lisa Page
Thursday, January 21st, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Free tickets here
Kseniya Melnik, the 2015-2016 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at GWU, is the author of the linked story collection Snow in May, which was short-listed for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Epoch, Esquire (Russia), Virginia Quarterly Review, Prospect (UK), and was selected for Granta’s New Voices series.
Kseniya Melnik at an on-campus reading from Fall 2015
Snow in May is a collection of nine short stories featuring “a cast of characters bound by their relationship to the port town of Magadan in Russia’s Far East, a former gateway for prisoners assigned to Stalin’s forced-labor camps. Comprised of a surprising mix of newly minted professionals, ex-prisoners, intellectuals, musicians, and faithful Party workers, the community is vibrant and resilient and life in Magadan thrives even under the cover of near-perpetual snow.” More information available here .
She will be in conversation with Lisa Page, the current Director of Creative Writing at GWU and the former president of PEN/FaulknerFoundation, a nonprofit literary organization that promotes a lifelong love of reading and a connection to writing through public events, in-school education, and public promotion of exceptional literary achievement.
Lisa Page, who has been a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers Conference, focuses her studies on contemporary literature and cultural identity. She is teaching a course on The American Memoir this semester, while Kseniya Melnik is teaching both a free community workshop and an undergraduate fiction workshop focused on contemporary and classic short stories.
Melnik aims to teach students to wield the “axe” to access “the frozen sea within us,” a reference to Kafka’s famous quote on the function of literature. Lisa Page’s course involves both a literature and a creative writing, in which students aim to “examine the structural elements of contemporary American memoir, and learn the history of the genre” in the process of writing their own memoirs.
With both distinct and intersectional interests and backgrounds, this event will be a generative and fascinating explication of Kseniya Melnik’s work and pedagogy.