Press Releases

April 1, 2005

World-class Writers to Gather in NYC For An Evening of Literature and Laughter
Benefit for Writers Conference Brings Literary Luminaries Together for One Night Only

Pekka Paavonpera (


New York, N.Y. — A literary who’s who will gather at The French Institute Alliance Francaise in Manhattan, at 7.00 p.m on April 6, for the fourth annual Southampton College Writers Conference fundraiser.

Melissa Bank, Meg Wolitzer, Roger Rosenblatt, Jules Feiffer, Christopher Durang, Matt Klam and David Rakoff, will read from their works, providing the audience with a preview of the July 20-31, 2005 summer Conference, where writers, poets, playwrights and literary enthusiasts from across the country will gather for a week of creative inspiration and lively discussion.

At the April 6th fundraiser, the art poster for the Conference, which an eminent cartoonist designs each year, will be unveiled. Following in the footsteps of Jules Feiffer, Garry Trudeau and Edward Koren, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has illustrated the 2005 edition.

Proceeds from the event will provide scholarship funds for the 30th annual Southampton College Writers Conference, which attracts students from across the country and around the world. Those accepted for the Conference attend a series of workshops and lectures with some of the country’s most gifted writers and teachers.

The writers slated to appear at the April 6 event will teach at the Writers Conference, providing instruction across a variety of genres including poetry, the novel, the short story, the play, the memoir and the essay. Each brings an astonishing array of credentials, artistic accomplishment, and life experience to the classroom:

Melissa Bank is the winner of the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, and is the author of the best-selling "The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing."

Meg Wolitzer is the author of six novels including "The Wife," "Surrender," "Dorothy," and "This is Your Life" Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories and has won the Pushcart Prize. She contributes regularly to WNYC’s "The Next Big Thing."

Roger Rosenblatt, an Emmy, Peabody and George Polk Award winner and Long Island University’s Parsons Family University Professor of Writing, is best known for his provocative contributions to Time magazine and PBS’ "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer."

Jules Feiffer, one of American's most influential editorial cartoonists, is also a playwright, novelist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He was presented an Obie Award for his book Little Murders and won an Oscar for his anti-military short subject animation, Munro.

Christopher Durang's plays The Nature and Purpose of the Universe, Titanic, A History of the

American Film, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Beyond Therapy and Baby With the Bathwater, among others have appeared on and off Broadway. He has received numerous honors, including an Obie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Tony nomination.

Matthew Klam, was named one of the 20 best young writers by The New Yorker in 1999, and won the O. Henry Award for his first book, "Sam the Cat and Other Stories." He is a recipient of a Robert Bingham/PEN Award, a National Endowment of the Arts and a Whiting Writer's Award.

David Rakoff is the author of the essay collections "Fraud" (Doubleday 2001) and the forthcoming "Don't Get Too Comfortable" (Doubleday 2005). He is a regular contributor to Public Radio International's "This American Life" and Outside Magazine, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Salon, Slate, and The New York Observer

The 2005 Writers Conference will also feature Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Peter Matthiessen, Susan Kinsolving, Bharati Mukherjee, and Clark Blaise

Southampton College, which boasts a renowned M.F.A. program in English & Writing, has become a literary Mecca on Long Island’s East End, drawing the finest writers to campus to share their insights and teach their craft. The College is transferring its undergraduate program to the campus of sister college C.W Post in September 2005, but will continue offering graduate programs in writing and education.

The French Institute Alliance Francaise is located at 22 East 60th St. For more information about the College and its programs, please call 631-287-8313.