Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back from New York

It's going to take a long time to process our trip to New York for the PEN awards, and I'll have more to report as said processing occurs. As I said at the awards ceremony--and meant--I still feel like a grad student sequestered in his room, writing for workshop. So how'd I turn into this joker in the suit? How'd I get to a place where I could shake Philip Roth's hand? I'm still not sure. Maybe it's better not to be.

The PEN site--linked to the right--has pictures and audio up from the awards.

Now, though, is the time to say thanks to all the great folks in NYC who made our visit so memorable, especially Thomas Beller (who is not only a really nice guy, but who is also taller than me--seriously, like 6'7"), Heidi Julavits, and Victoria Redel, the judges for the Bingham Award; Joan Bingham and family, who funded the award, and who held a magnificent dinner after the ceremony in the sort of apartment I thought only existed in the pages of Salinger novels; PEN director Ron Chernow and the wonderful staff of PEN, especially Nick Burd; my editor, Ann Patty, and agent, Marian Young, who both shepherded Steph and me around with considerable patience; the incomparable Otto Penzler, for lunch and praise; the terrific memoirist Amy Benson and her husband Douglas Repetto, who spent the day before the awards ably showing off their beautiful city; and my old friend and classmate Shari Goldhagen, for coffee. (Check out the fine books by both Amy and Shari: THE SPARKLING-EYED BOY and FAMILY AND OTHER ACCIDENTS; both their web sites are linked to the right.)

And a shout-out to my old friend Jennifer, who I ran into by accident in the Strand. In a metro area of seventeen million, I saw a pal from Ohio. What a city.

That's all for now. In twenty-four hours I'll be winging off again, this time to Columbia, Missouri, for the wedding of Mike Kardos and Katie Pierce, two of our best friends. And from Missouri I'm headed to France. If I have time I'll post from the road...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Upcoming trip to France

On May 29th I'll be making my first-ever trip overseas, to take part in an author tour arranged by my French publisher, Albin Michel. I'll be joining several other American authors: Dan Chaon, Anthony Doerr, Brady Udall, David Treuer, Elwood Reid, and Louise Erdrich. Some folks have written me, curious about the schedule... and I'm sketchy on the fine details (for instance, I wasn't aware Louise Erdrich would be along until just recently, and I still don't know many stops she'll be present for). But here's what I know of my part of the itinerary:

On Tuesday May 30th, we'll be in Toulouse (Southwestern France).

On May 31st: Montpellier (Southeastern France).

On June 1st: Lyon (Central France).

On June 2nd: Lille (Northern France).

On June 3rd: Rennes and Saint-Malo (Western France), where we will stay three days, and join the Etonnants Voyageurs International Book Festival.

We will be back in Paris on the evening of June 5th, and I'll fly home on the 6th. At each stop there will be readings, as well as meetings with press and booksellers.

If I can come up with more definitive details, I'll post them--soon!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship

I just recently found out that I've been awarded the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. This is shocking, overwhelming news. (Details and citation are linked over to the right.) I'll be flying to New York this weekend and accepting the award at the Lincoln Center on Monday, May 22. Since I'm likely going to meet any number of people I idolize--not least of whom is Philip Roth, winner of the PEN/Nabokov--I will write all kinds of commentary next week, upon return.

But, any PEN folks reading this--I'm as honored and flabbergasted as any former Hoosier farmkid can be. My deepest thanks.

Greetings (again) and news

Greetings, friends and randomly curious readerfolk!

I'm going to try and make this blog my homepage for a while, since the last one, I think we can all agree, would have been awful even by 1995 standards. (Even this guy's is better.) I tried a blog at this site last year, and failed--but around here we take failure and use it to grow strong, like bull. So: welcome to my blog and homepage, version 2.0. I'll try to keep it lively.