Writing at the MacDowell Colony

Two rich tales reflect aspects of the immigrant experience, both experienced and inherited, in stories by MacDowell Colony writers.

”…”I left Milly’s party and walked along old narrow streets, feeling a peculiar tenderness as I passed by quaint eighteenth-century homes with their soft-lighted windows. Inside, I imagined lit candles, roses in glass vases, gleaming mirrors, and bowls of potpourri smelling of cinnamon and pears.
--Frances Hwang, “The Modern Age”

Two rich tales reflect aspects of the immigrant experience, both experienced and inherited, in stories by MacDowell Colony writers.

The Macdowell Colony in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire celebrated its Centennial in 2007: 100 years of providing a comfortable creative environment for writers, composers, visual artists and film-makers. One of its celebratory occasions was an evening at SELECTED SHORTS at which noted writers who had been fellows at MacDowell introduced stories by younger writers. Two of these stories are presented on this program. In David Bezmozgis’s “The Proposition,” a successful émigré still feels the weight of his precarious past. Bezmozgis is a Canadian writer who left his native Latvia during the exodus of the Soviet Jews. And in his introduction to the story, from the stage of Symphony Space, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jeffrey Eugenides says that Bezmozgis is haunted, not just by Russia, but by “Russian-ess.” “The Proposition,” is read by long-time SHORTS leading man Paul Hecht.

In our second story by a MacDowell Colony writer, Frances Hwang’s “The Modern Age,” worldly and sophisticated young urbanites remember the struggles of their immigrant forebears, and discover that something is missing in their own congenial lives. “The Modern Age” was introduced on stage by the Vietnamese-born writer Monique Truong, who talked about her own memories of the MacDowell Colony, covered in snow, and about her impression of Hwang’s writing as being sharp as the knife one character in “The Modern Age” plays with restlessly. The reader is actor and performance artist Dawn Akemi Saito.

“The Proposition” by David Bezmozgis, read by Paul Hecht
“The Modern Age,” by Frances Hwang, read by Dawn Akemi Saito
The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space

We’re interested in your response to these programs. Please comment on this site or visit www.selectedshorts.org

Listener’s choice! On June 9th, 2010, SELECTED SHORTS at Symphony Space in New York will feature stories selected by our nationwide audience. Go to http://www.symphonyspace.org/shorts/audience_picks to submit your suggestions for a published story you think we should read. Then in the spring, you’ll vote for your favorite from among the final contenders.