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Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence

Lorrie Moore

 

2022 Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Reading

The reading will be on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:30 pm at Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall and will be open to the public.


Biography

Lorrie Moore is a writer whose voice on the page is unmistakable: smart, satirical, dark, and fearless. She also knows her way around a punchline—she is very, very funny—but it would be a mistake to read her work purely for its comedic value. Her stories are masterpieces of the form because all the one-liners, the puns, and the sometimes-painful jokes bear the burden of a corresponding truth: all is not right in the world. Like Flannery O’Connor, a close literary relative, Moore’s stories can be deeply tragic and exceptionally hilarious at the very same time.

The daughter of an insurance executive and a nurse turned housewife, Moore was born in the small Adirondacks town of Glens Falls, New York. She attended St. Lawrence University and in 1980 enrolled in Cornell’s M.F.A. program. In 1983, when she was twenty-six, Knopf bought her collection, Self-Help, comprised almost entirely of stories from her master’s thesis. Jay McInerney, reviewing the book for the New York Times, called it “a distinctive, scalpel-sharp fictional voice that probes . . . the depths of our fears and yearnings.”

From book to book her scalpel has only gotten sharper, as has the depth of her skill and breadth of her vision. Her first novel, Anagrams (1986), was followed by a second collection, Like Life (1990). Included in this collection is the story “You’re Ugly, Too,” her first to be published in the New Yorker, and reprinted, as so many Moore stories have been, in The O. Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories. It was also included in The Best Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.

Her second novel, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (1994), was followed by the seminal collection Birds of America, which came out in 1998 and won The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. Her 2009 novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and for the Orange Prize for Fiction. A third collection, Bark, was shortlisted for the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for The Story Prize.

Moore was the Delmore Schwartz Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught creative writing for 30 years. She joined the faculty there in 1984 and left to join the faculty at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2013, where she is now the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English.

Over the last four decades, Lorrie Moore has created an oeuvre that is unparalleled in contemporary fiction, establishing herself as a writer who will be read until the lights go out. In 2020, all her stories were collected and published in one volume by Everyman’s Library. In the preface to that collection, Lauren Groff writes that “a funny writer is a writer to whom the reader gives a great deal of power, and gladly.” Glady, yes, even joyfully, the reader gives Lorrie Moore all the power she wants. She has earned it, after all.


About the Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program

The Department of English and Comparative Literature proudly announces the creation of the Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program.  This program will build upon our department’s long-standing commitment to the value of a writer-in-residence program that spans over two decades. Through the generosity of the Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program (1993-2012) and the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program (2013-2015), our department has brought significant contemporary writers to campus to meet with students and faculty, to visit classes, and to give readings, talks, and symposia. The Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence Program affirms and continues that tradition. It will ensure that our students continue to be inspired by interactions with important writers of our time.  Furthermore, it will greatly enrich the intellectual climate and lively literary culture on Carolina’s campus.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature heartily thanks the Hanes family for its generous sponsorship of the program.  The program honors the late Frank Borden Hanes, Sr., (Class of 1942).  Mr. Hanes has long been a gracious supporter of Creative Writing at Carolina and has made gifts with powerful lasting impact.  He endowed the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship, which brings highly promising young writers to the Creative Writing Program, and he also supported the teaching and creativity of our Creative Writing faculty in countless ways.  Mr. Hanes himself was a passionate author, a proud and loyal alumnus, and an outstanding citizen of our state.


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