This Week is Lit

The Saranac Review’s This Week is Lit, our weekly curated literary event list, is back and better this year! As we continue to move into our new normal, you can always rely on the Saranac Review to deliver our selection of the most engaging events happening online and in person. This week is jam-packed with innovative readings and talks, so be sure to mark your calendars!


Kicking things off, SUNY Purchase will be launching the fall season of their Durst Distinguished Lecture series, featuring celebrated author Viet Thanh Nguyen in a conversation with Purchase professor, Usha Rungoo. The Durst Distinguished Lecture series aims to provide meaningful cultural and intellectual experiences for the campus community, by connecting them with renowned writers. The lecture series will be offering a number of free, in-person and virtual events throughout the fall semester.


This week’s event will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 28th at 6PM EDT. Not only has Viet Thanh Nguyen won a Pulitzer prize for his 2015 novel, The Sympathizer, he has also published a best-selling short story collection, The Refugees (2017), and two books of nonfiction, including Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War​ (2016), which was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction.


Please register in advance for this event here. For more information, visit the event page.


And in a really poignant choice of discussion, the Center for Fiction will be hosting a creative nonfiction panel entitled, “On America: Environmental Storytelling”. Speakers Kerri Arsenault, John Freeman, Sumanth Prabhaker, Emily Raboteau, Sarah Smarsh, and Garnette Cadogan will be considering how storytellers face and share the testimonies of unjust systems in our societal environment. How do writers reconcile the impact of chronicling a landscape marred by such innate conflict? This panel will be held via Zoom on Thursday, September 30th, at 7PM EDT.


Kerri Arsenault is Book Review Editor at Orion magazine, and author of Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains, winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award and the Maine Literary Award. Literary critic John Freeman, is the founder of the annual anthology Freeman’s and has been featured in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the New York Times. Sumanth Prabhaker is the editor of the environmental magazine Orion. Emily Raboteau is a literary critic and author of The Professor’s Daughter and Searching for Zion, which won an American Book Award. Sarah Smarsh is a journalist, and author of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. Garnette Cadogan is an essayist and the Tunney Lee Distinguished Lecturer in Urbanism at MIT.


For more details or to register for this event, visit the event page here.


More Literary Events

Tuesday, September 28, 1:00pm EDT -- The Writers’ Bridge

The Writers’ Bridge will be hosting a “Blurbs, Buckets & Balance: Building Your Online Writer Life NOW for Publishing Success'' Q&A talk, tackling everything from publishing to social media branding tips. Writers Ashleigh Renard and Allison K. Williams will facilitate this platform on the importance of growing your readership through personal marketing. Attendees will also have access to previous recorded episodes.

Please register on the event form to receive a Zoom link the day before, and a reminder one hour before.


Thursday, September 30, 7:00pm EDT -- Vermont Studio Center

Join the Vermont Studio Center for their “Writers on the Rise” spotlight reading series, designed to showcase a diverse array of original voices. Poet, painter, and 2018 VSC fellowship recipient, Kamaria Shepherd will be reading from her collection of works. Her writing focuses on themes of womanhood, through the lens of the African American female.

To register for this event, please visit the online event page here. A Zoom link will later be provided.