The life and work of fiction writer Coleman Dowell will be celebrated at the Fales Collection of New York University in an event entitled “Swan on the Balcony” on Thursday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. Participating in a reading of Dowell’s works will be the writers Walter Abish, Ann Lauterbach, Brad Morrow, John O’Brien, Gilbert Sorrentino, and Edmund White.

This event, which takes place at Fales, 3rd floor of the NYU Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, is free and open to the public; reservations are required; please call (212) 998-2386.

In conjunction with this event the Fales Collection has mounted an exhibition drawn from the Coleman Dowell Papers, acquired by Fales in 1986. On display will be manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, photographs, diaries and other materials about Dowell’s life and work. The exhibition will be on display through April 18, 2003.

Coleman Dowell is the author of several works of fiction, which have alternatively been classified as “gay fiction,” “Southern Gothic,” or metafiction. His major novels include Island People, Too Much Flesh, Jabez, and White on Black on White. Early in his career Dowell wrote both for the stage and for television, where he wrote songs and lyrics for Bea Arthur, Elaine Stritch and Alice Ghostley. His theatre pieces include The Tattooed Countess and Eve of the Green Grass.

Edmund White says of Dowell’s writing: “For Dowell’s novels to ‘work’ on us, we must approach them with no preconceived ideas, no genre assumptions, no labels. He will give us a walk on the wild side, but only if we have no smug idea about where he is leading us.”

The Fales Collection at NYU is especially renowned for its Downtown Collection, which documents the Downtown New York art and literary scene from 1975 to the present and is the only collection of its kind at a major university. Included in the collection are the papers of such writers and artists as David Wojnarowicz, Dennis Cooper, Tim Dlugos, Ron Kolm, John Watts, and many others.

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