A grand dame of Irish literature, a Jamaican literary prodigy, a Moroccan/American Pulitzer Prize finalist and America’s best known writer and literary activist are the writers who will make up the 2016-17 season of the Babel Literary series.
The series was created 10 years ago by the Just Buffalo Literary Center and on Thursday brought the highly acclaimed Norwegian memoirist Karl Ove Knausgaard to Buffalo. Knausgaard read from his work and spoke at Kleinhans Music Hall where the Babel Series participants will appear.
Announced participants for the season will be:
• Oct. 19, Marlon James. The 45-year-old Jamaican novelist whose “A Brief History of Seven Killings” won Britain’s Man Booker prize and has been optioned as an HBO movie. News Book reviewer Ed Taylor called the book “ambitious and lion-hearted” as well as “intriguing and attractively immersive.”
• Nov. 9, Laila Lailami. Lailami, 47, will focus on her Pulitzer Prize finalist novel “The Moor’s Account” in Buffalo. In a story in the News in 2005, the novelist – who is also a widely published critic and blogger – told an interviewer “I’m really into literature by writers of color or any kind of affirmation that explores life in the margin.”
• March 24, Edna O’Brien. The Irish novelist, critic and biographer and one of the grand figures of world literature, is 85 years old. Among her fans is Philip Roth who has called her “the most gifted woman writing in English.” News Book reviewer Michael D. Langan has written “she can make sparks fly with her language … She can be both poetic and pastoral.” Her 2016 novel “The Little Red Chairs” will be the focus of her visit.
• April 20, Dave Eggers. Eggers, 46, may be the most famous literary activist in America. He is the editor/founder of McSweeney’s, the author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and is the creator of nonprofit writing centers as well as programs providing tuition for disenfranchised students. A movie based on one of his books “A Hologram for the King” opened in Buffalo area theaters Friday.