Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Tuesday, September 16, Bard College will host a dialogue between Bard President Leon Botstein and celebrated Romanian émigré novelist, essayist, and Bard professor Norman Manea. The conversation will mark the recent publication of Manea's memoir, The Hooligan's Return, a portrait of the writer that ranges from his early childhood in prewar Romania to his return there in 1997, exploring issues of repression, exile, life, and literature. The event is free and open to the public and takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the Bard campus. The conversation will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience and a book signing with Manea.

Reviews in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle have lauded The Hooligan's Return, with the Chronicle calling it "a book for the times: an anatomy of exile and its discontents so attuned to cultural cliché, so resistant to the blandishments of retrospection, that it manages to uncover the inner landscape of displacement in all its complexity while routinely breaking our hearts." Manea's eloquent memoir explores his harsh childhood in Transnistra, a concentration camp for Romanian Jews; the frustrating attempts to live under the repressive communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu; his eventual emigration to America; and the issues of identity that haunt him on a return trip to Romania in 1997. In the Times, Richard Eder writes, "[Manea's] interest lies in evoking the feel and implication of his life more than in recounting its details. Yet the artistry of the implication, the intensity of what can seem a dream state, draws us imperceptibly through a half-lighted window for lack of the door."

The conversation in the Fisher Center will not only explore Manea's memoir, but provide a public opportunity for what promises to be an insightful exchange between Botstein, a son of Polish exiles who escaped the Holocaust, and Manea, whose family endured it.

Norman Manea is the author of 14 volumes of fiction and essays, most recently The Black Envelope (FSG, 1995). He has received Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, and has been awarded Italy’s International Nonino Prize for Literature. He is Francis Flournoy Professor in European Studies and Culture and writer-in-residence at Bard College, New York. He lives with his wife in New York City.

Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College. He is music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra; founder, co-artistic director, and conductor of the Bard Music Festival; and was recently appointed music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and has published several books, including Jefferson's Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture.

For more information on this event, please call 758-7900.

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This event was last updated on 10-03-2003