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Renowned Author, Sven Birkerts to Lead Bennington's Graduate Writing Seminars

Feb 05, 2008

Bennington College has announced that renowned author and critic Sven Birkerts will serve as the next Director of Bennington College’s low-residency graduate writing program.

Birkerts, a celebrated American essayist and literary critic, is the author of seven books, including An Artificial Wilderness: Essays on 20th Century Literature; The Electric Life: Essays on Modern Poetry; American Energies: Essays on Fiction; The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age; Readings; My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time; and, most recently, Reading Life: Books For the Ages. He edits the journal Agni at Boston University. He has edited Tolstoy’s Dictaphone: Writers and the Muse, as well as Writing Well (with Donald Hall) and The Evolving Canon.

Birkerts has reviewed regularly for The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Mirabella, Parnassus, The Yale Review, and other publications. He has received grants from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation and has won the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle and the Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award from PEN for the best book of essays and has taught at Harvard University, Emerson College, and Amherst.

“Bennington, and the scores of its graduate writing students and alumni, have suffered a most profound loss with the death of Liam Rector,” President Elizabeth Coleman remarked. “Liam was the founding director of what has become a remarkable program—extending across the country and indeed, across the world. Sven Birkerts has been a member of the core faculty from the outset. Given his distinguished accomplishments as a writer, coupled with the depth of his experience and commitment to the program, I can think of no one more capable than Sven Birkerts to lead the Writing Seminars.”

Bennington’s low-residency graduate writing program, was founded in 1994. It has since grown to be one of the nation’s top graduate writing programs, attracting some of the country’s most acclaimed writers as faculty and writers in residence including the former United States Poet Laureate Donald Hall. The program has graduated highly acclaimed writers representing a broad spectrum of contemporary American arts and letters.

Read the story in The Bennington Banner.