The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Julie Schumacher: Dear Committee Members

Show Date/ Time:
Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Doors at 1:30 pm

Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Ticket Prices:
General Admission - FREE

Julie Schumacher became the first woman to win the Thurber Prize for American Humor with her epistolary novel, Dear Committee Members. Previous winners include Jon Stewart, David Sedaris, and Calvin Trillin. Her winning novel depicts a cynical and disillusioned creative writing professor, Jason Fitger, whose life is glimpsed through the seemingly endless number of recommendation letters he is asked to write for colleagues, students, and near strangers at a not very distinguished liberal arts college in the Midwest.

Fitger’s once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. In short, his life is a tale of woe, told through a series of hilarious letters that Fitger is endlessly called upon to write, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.

“The conceit of a novel told in letters of reference is inspired, and it is killingly funny because it’s all so killingly true. Truth walks here in the strangest of costumes, and in part because of its guises, we can face it, frown, laugh, cry. I’ve never lost an afternoon so happily.”
– Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Passages of H.M.

Q&A and signing to follow the public reading

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