Writer Alumni News

We love hearing news from our busy group of SVWC alumni writers. Here are some updates about what they’ve been up to lately. Be sure to scroll ALL the way down within this window so you don’t miss anything!


In her first memoir, award-winning novelist and SVWC alumna Yiyun Li offers a journey of recovery through literature: a letter from a writer to like-minded readers. According to Amazon, the book interweaves personal experiences with a wide-ranging homage to the author’s most cherished literary influences, as Yiyun Li confronts the two most essential questions of her identity: Why write? And why live? Learn more about Li’s latest work HERE.


Amazon announces the release of Atwood’s latest work: “The cat-centric adventure continues, in the all-ages follow-up to best-selling novelist Margaret Atwood’s debut graphic novel. Genetic engineer Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, and his band of half-cats head to Castle Catula to seek allies as the war between cats and rats escalates. Margaret Atwood, the respected, worldwide best-selling novelist, and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas continue their action-packed adventure!” Click HERE for more info.


In this new board book for children from SVWC alum Eric Carle, creator of the classic book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, nonsense and surrealism combine to spark creativity and imagination. What’s true? What’s impossible? What’s absolutely absurd? This is a book to make children laugh and think, preparing them for a lifetime of loving both words and art. You can read more about it HERE.



SVWC 2014 presenter Simon Winchester has produced a new book for the Smithsonian series. From Amazon: “Winchester looks at how, when, where, and why hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, and tornadoes start brewing, how they build, and what happens when these giant storms hit. His lively narrative also includes an historical look at how we learned about weather systems and where we’re headed because of climate change.” Read more about the book on AMAZON or the author’s WEBSITE.


From the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist and SVWC alum, Sebastian Barry, comes a powerful new novel of duty and family set against the American Indian and Civil Wars. This from Amazon.com: Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten. Read more HERE.


In a beautiful collaboration with gilgameshItalian illustrator Marco Lorenzetti, SVWC 2014 presenter Yiyun Li has produced a new children’s book in the “Save the Story” series, THE STORY OF GILGAMESH. You can find out more about the book HERE or go the publisher’s WEBSITE for more information about this wonderful “Save the Story” SERIES.


Maira Kalman, the artist who kalmancreated our 2010 SVWC poster, has released a new art book for children with Daniel Handler and MOMA … “an evocative exploration of the physical environments captured in photographs from around the world.” Learn more about the book HERE or on Maira’s WEBSITE.


march-coverSVWC alumnus caroRobert Caro was named as the 29th recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL), which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement.
And SVWC alumni Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for their graphic novel, MARCH: BOOK THREE. For a complete list of winners, click HERE.

BRYAN DOERRIES01herculesjp-thumbstandard

“Hercules in Brooklyn,” a new production by Bryan Doerries’ Outside the Wire group, premiered at the Brooklyn Public Library with performances by Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright, inspiring a discussion about gun violence. The theater company uses dramatic readings of ancient texts to spur community discussions about violence and trauma. Click HERE to read the recent article in The New York Times.


Several SVWC alumni were honored in a White House ceremony on September 22 by President Barack Obama. Abraham Verghese, James McBride, and Isabel Wilkerson were among those recognized for the work they have done to deepen the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broaden our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects. Find out more by reading the PRESS RELEASE or watching the VIDEO.

BILLY COLLINScollins-cover

The former U.S. Poet Laureate has released his 12th volume of poetry. Click HERE to find out why he has been called “America’s favorite poet” by The Wall Street Journal.



A revised and updated version of David’s popular guide to the machines and technology of our ever-changing world has finally arrived. Take a look HERE at all that the book has to offer.


AMANDA HESSERfood52-cover

Along with her co-author, Merrill Stubbs, Amanda has released an inspiring new cookbook, FOOD 52 A NEW WAY TO DINNER, with strategies for creating delicious home-cooked meals all week long. Get inspired and motivated to try it yourself HERE.


BETH MACYtruevine-cover

Beth’s newest release, TRUEVINE, tells the true story of two brothers in the Jim Crow South who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and their mother who tried for 28 years to get them back. Learn more about the book HERE.


CALVIN TRILLINno-fair-cover

Whimsically illustrated by Roz Chast, Calvin Trillin’s first book of poems for children, NO FAIR! NO FAIR! AND OTHER JOLLY POEMS OF CHILDHOOD,  is inspired by some of his real-life experiences and is “laugh-out-loud” funny. See for yourself HERE.


DAVID BARRONbarron-cover

David Barron, who spoke at
SVWC 2016, writes about the history of the ongoing struggle between the presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war in his new book. Click HERE for more information or to purchase the book on Amazon. 



SVWC 2016 presenter Alexander Maksik has written a new novel, Shelter in Place. Take a look to see if Xander will be coming to a bookstore near you on his BOOK TOUR. You can also check out the latest REVIEWS and links for purchasing the book on his website.

IAN MCEWANnutshell cover

Nutshell, Ian McEwan’s latest novel, is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers. For more information about the book, visit the author’s WEBSITE or learn more on AMAZON. UK’s The Guardian also ran a recent ARTICLE about the author and his latest work.


march coverJOHN LEWIS

In his continued collaboration with author Andrew Aydin, Representative John Lewis has completed the third book of March, an illustrated trilogy about the Civil Rights Movement in America. Lewis appeared recently to talk about the series on “The Colbert Report.” For more information about the trilogy, visit AMAZON.




In an honest and often amusing interview, novelist and former SVWC presenter Curtis Sittenfeld describes how she reacts to unsparing reviews and has come to take criticism less personally. Click HERE to read the complete article.


Lawrence Wright

SVWC 2015 presenter Wright bookLawrence WRIGHT, Lawrence - Credit Kenny Braun - 72dpi - 12Wright has released a new book about Al-Qaeda and the Islamic state titled The Terror Years, made up of his numerous essays published in The New Yorker. NPR’s All Things Considered correspondent Kelly McEvers interviewed him recently. For more information about the book and to listen to the interview in full, click HERE.


grunt-coverROACH,-Mary---Credit-(c)-Chris-Hardy---96dpi---12-16-2014SVWC 2015 presenter Mary Roach was interviewed recently on NPR’s Fresh Air about her latest book, GRUNT, which explores the science of warfare. Listen to her fascinating interview with Terry Gross in its entirety HEREYou can also check out the review of her book in The New York Times HERE.


gene cover

siddhartha-mukherjee-49784674From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information? Find out more about Mukherjee’s new book, THE GENE, by clicking HERE. You can also read a review of the book on The New York Times website.


barryDave BarryIn Dave’s latest book, THE WORST NIGHT EVER (sequel to THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER), Wyatt Palmer returns for another adventure. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barry is right on target by being slightly off-target, and readers will get carried away (pun intended—read the book!) with this middle-school story. Click HERE for more info!


PEARSON, Ridley sq - Credit Thia Koniglock-and-key-coverRidley’s lawhite-bone-covertest releases
include WHITE BONE, a risk agent novel, and LOCK AND KEY: THE INITIATION, the first in a new trilogy for fans of the Kingdom Keepers and Peter & the Starcatchers series. Check them both out on his WEBSITE.



SITTENFELD, Curtis - Credit Josephine Sittenfeld web41hnYP26jjL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_From The New York Times bestselling author of PREP and AMERICAN WIFE comes a modern retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Equal parts homage to Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, ELIGIBLE is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the 21st century. Read more about its juicy plot HERE.



merwinW. S. Merwin - Credit Tom SewellThis fascinating documentary on W. S. Merwin under the revised title, W. S. MERWIN: TO PLANT A TREE was screened nationwide on PBS the week of April 11, 2016. What was aired is an hour-long edit of the longer film audiences have enjoyed at various screenings over the past year. DVDs are available HERE. 


James McBride photoJB bookJames has written a brand-new book, KILL ’EM AND LEAVE: SEARCHING FOR JAMES BROWN AND THE AMERICAN SOUL, about the legendary musician James Brown. Click HERE to read a recent review from The New York Times Book Review section and learn about what it took for him to write it.


BERGEN, Peter - Credit Brent_Stirton-CNN websiteUnited-States-of-Jihad-jacket-1-280x417Peter’s latest book, UNITED STATES OF JIHAD, was released just this past February. It is a riveting, panoramic look at “homegrown” Islamist terrorism, from 9/11 to the present. Learn more about its impact and importance HERE.