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Presented in affiliation with the Inspired Writers Series hosted by MFA Program’s Phil Klay

Some writers can take the facts of their lives — their family histories and their own struggles, failures, and triumphs — and use them as a window into our most vital contemporary political, cultural, and moral debates. How do they do it? Acclaimed essayist Emily Bernard,  winner of the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose, has written searching and beautiful work that explores the echoing effects of a stabbing she experienced as a young woman, how America’s racial history intersects with her teaching, her family, and her marriage, and the complexities of being an adoptive parent seeking to provide her children a history from which they can project their own futures. And she has done so with exquisite and innovative prowess. She will be joined in conversation with Fairfield professor and National Book Award-winning author Phil Klay to discuss the art and craft of the personal essay.

Emily Bernard is the author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine, which was named one of the best books of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews and National Public Radio. Bernard is the winner of the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose. Her previous works include: Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendship, which was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age. Her essays have been reprinted in Best American EssaysBest African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. A 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, Emily is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont.

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