April 13, 2016
NYU Washington, DC and the Corporation of Yaddo presented authors Rachel Cantor and Richard McCann in a Salon Series conversation. McCann served as moderator for the evening.
Rachel Cantor lives in New York, the city of her heart, in the writerly borough of Brooklyn, but has at various points made her home in most U.S. states between Virginia and Vermont. In addition to writing fiction, Cantor freelances as a writer for nonprofits that work in developing countries. In that capacity, she has worked everywhere from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe (most recently in Nigeria, Senegal, and Laos). She has spent much of her adolescence in Rome, and as a young one, she wandered the world, working on food festivals in Melbourne, Australia, and European jazz festivals in France; living in rural Gujarat while interning for a Gandhian nonprofit; and teaching Afghan women refugees in Peshwar, Pakistan. She is a native New Englander; her love for the Boston Red Sox is fanatical. She is, always, at work on another book.
Rachel Cantor is the author of the novels Good on Paper, published in 2016 by Melville House, and A Highly Unlikely Scenario. Her short fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, and Kenyon Review, among others. She also writes for nonprofits working in developing countries, most recently Nigeria, Senegal, and Laos.
Richard McCann is the author of the prize-winning Mother of Sorrows. His fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have been published widely, including in The Atlantic, Ms., Esquire, Ploughshares, and Tin House. He is Professor of Literature at American University, where he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing, and is presently writing a memoir about his experience as a liver transplant recipient.
Is a new life possible? Because Shira Greene’s life hasn’t quite turned out at planned. Shira is a permanent temp with a few short stories published in minor literary magazines and an abandoned PhD on Dante’s Vita Nuova.
Her life has some happy certainties, though: she lives with her friend Ahmad, and her daughter Andi on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They’re an unconventional family, but a real one, with Friday night dinner rituals, private jokes, and the shared joys and strains of any other family.
So Romei, winner of last year’s Nobel Prize and the irascible idol of grad students everywhere, asks her to translate his new book, Shira is happy . . . but stunned. Suddenly, she sees a new life beckoning: academic glory, a career as a literary translator, and even love (with a part-time rabbi and owner of her local indie bookstore). That is, until Romei starts sending her pages of the manuscript and she realizes that something odd is going on: his book may in fact be untranslatable.
A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.
Founded in 1900 by Spencer and Katrina Trask, Yaddo is an artists community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York. Its mission is to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment. Yaddo offers residencies to professional creative artists from all nations and backgrounds working in one or more of the following media: choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video. Artists may apply individually or as members of collaborative teams of two or three persons. They are selected by panels of other professional artists without regard to financial means. Residencies last from two weeks to two months and include room, board, and studio.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists offers an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us.