The Gallatin School of Individualized Study will host a day of readings, discussions, and performances about the work of celebrated fiction writer and essayist David Foster Wallace--April 2, 3 to 8 p.m., in the Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Stock photo of a pen posed against a page of writing

This interdisciplinary symposium, organized by Gallatin professors Gregory Erickson and Scott Korb, brings together scholars, authors, students, and actors to explore the ethical and moral side of writing through the work of David Foster Wallace. Comprising five events, diverse in format and approach, the symposium will engage topics including Wallace and religion, Wallace and race, and the ethics of biographical writing.

The final event will be an excerpt from director Daniel Fish’s acclaimed theater piece based on audio recordings of Wallace, to be performed by Mary Rasmussen and Jenny Seastone. Participants include Maria Bustillos, Samuel Cohen (The Legacy of David Foster Wallace), Paul Elie (Reinventing Bach), D.T. Max (Every Love Story is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace), David Lipsky (Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace), Matthew Sitman, and Kevin Timpe (Free Will).

“I’ve taught Wallace’s writing my entire career,” says Korb, “and more profound even than his inimitable style and the breadth of his imagination is the call he makes on my students—on all of us—to live better lives. I'm thrilled to be part of a symposium dedicated to exploring how, and why, he does this.”

Erikson, too, has been influenced by his students’ enthusiasm for Wallace’s writing.

“For years, whenever I taught a course on Joyce or Proust or on literature and religion or literature and existentialism, my best students would tell me, ‘This is great but you have to read David Foster Wallace,’ ” he explains. “So I did, and I was instantly fascinated by his work and even more by its impact on his readers.”

The symposium, co-sponsored with NYU’s Creative Writing Program, is free and open to the public; an RSVP is required. For more information, call 212.998.7365.

Full Schedule of Events

3:00 - 3:45 Student reading of Wallace passages

4:00 - 4:45 Wallace and Religion (a roundtable)
With Paul Elie, Gregory Erickson, and Kevin Timpe. Matthew Sitman moderates.

5:00 - 5:45 Two short talks
Maria Bustillos presents “Since Man First Crept From The Primeval Slurry”
Samuel Cohen presents “The Whiteness of David Foster Wallace”

6:00 - 6:45 The Ethics of Biography (a panel discussion)
With David Lipsky and D.T. Max. Scott Korb moderates.

7:00 - 7:45 An excerpt from A (radically condensed and expanded) SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I'LL NEVER DO AGAIN (theater)
Based on works from A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
Adapted for the stage by Daniel Fish
Produced with the permission of the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust
Performed by Mary Rasmussen and Jenny Seastone, Directed by Daniel Fish and Assistant Director Alexandra Kuechler-Caffall

Book sales courtesy of Books on Call. Authors will be available for signing.

Subways: N, R (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place).

Press Contact

James Devitt
James Devitt
(212) 998-6808