Author Madison Smartt Bell, a National Book Award finalist, will give a reading at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchison Hall on the University of Rochester's River Campus as part of The Plutzik Series.
Born in Tennessee in 1957, Bell has published several novels and essays. Most of his work deals with race relationships between black and white and is often set in New York City and Haiti. His eighth novel, All Soul's Rising (1995), the first of a trilogy about the Haitian War of Independence that he continued with Master of the Crossroads (2000) and The Stone That the Builder Refused (2004), received the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 1996, Granta magazine named Bell one of the "Best American Novelists Under Forty."
Bell's newest work, Lavoisier in the Year One, follows up on his interest in revolutions and is a biography of scientist Antoine Lavoisier, a victim of the guillotine during the French Revolution. His other novels include Ten Indians, Save Me Joe Louis, and Doctor Sleep. Besides novels, Bell has written screenplays about the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 and recently worked on the film projects for Save Me Joe Louis and Doctor Sleep, which received the Grand Prix at the Paris Film Festival in 2002.
Bell's reading is scheduled during Meliora Weekend, the University's annual tradition of celebrating homecoming, alumni reunions, and family weekend together.
In addition to writing and reviewing for the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, and other publications, Bell has taught creative writing at various institutions including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the 92nd Street Y, and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. He is currently professor of English and director of the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College.
Bell studied creative writing at Princeton University, where he earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude. He earned his master's degree from Hollins College, now Hollins University, in Virginia.
The Plutzik Series is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious literary reading programs and readings are free and open to the public. Established to honor the work of Hyam Plutzik, a distinguished poet and Deane Professor of Poetry and Rhetoric at the University, it has featured more than 175 noted writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Anthony Hecht, Elizabeth Bishop, and Galway Kinnell. The Plutzik Series is administered by the Department of English. For more information, contact (585) 275-4092.