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!


The Booker Prize-winning author pens a conclusion to the dramatic, hilarious, and heartwarming ANGEL CATBIRD trilogy.


Congratulations to David Grossman, whose recent book A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR, has won the Man Booker International Prize. This NYT article has more info.


Announcing new books from SVWC alums Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Salman Rushdie, and Scott Turow…take a look:



Salman Rushdie – JANTAR MANTAR

Scott Turow – TESTIMONY


Congratulations to SVWC alum Xander Maksik, who was just awarded a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship.


Don’t miss Colum McCann’s latest release, LETTERS TO A YOUNG WRITER, an intriguing and inspirational lesson on how to be a writer from the National Book Award winner of LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN.


All of us at SVWC are saddened to hear of the death of Roger Wilkins, a champion of civil rights. We remember his time with the Conference in 2002 fondly. This New York Times piece speaks beautifully to his influence and many accomplishments. At left is a photo of Wilkins at SVWC with fellow presenters. From left to right: William Kennedy, David Halberstam, Frank McCourt, Dave Barry, Roger Wilkins, David McCullough.


Jean Hanff Korelitz, SVWC 2009 presenter and author of New York Times bestseller, ADMISSION, has written a “twisty” new novel, THE DEVIL AND WEBSTER, about life on a college campus. Click on the book title for more information.


SVWC alum Dave Barry, along with co-authors Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach, has published a hilarious parody of the Passover Haggadah that is sure to bring some humor to the table for Seder. “Prepare to be entertained by another version of the book that’s responsible for this interminable tradition” and check out more about the book HERE.




Brian Doerries, the director of Theater of War, has been named as New York City’s Artist in Residence. He and his group will use classic texts to explore violence, trauma and community at free events at 60 locations around Manhattan. For the complete article, click HERE or for information about the group and performances, click HERE.


Financial journalist, author of HOUSE OF CARDS, and SVWC alum William D. Cohan has released a new book about Wall Street, WHY WALL STREET MATTERS. According to The New York Times, “Cohan writes with an insider’s knowledge of the workings of Wall Street, a reporter’s investigative instincts and a natural storyteller’s narrative command.” You can read more about it HERE.


In her first memoir, DEAR FRIEND, FROM MY LIFE I WRITE TO YOU IN YOUR LIFE, 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, ANGEL CATBIRD: “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 THE NONSENSE SHOW HERE.


SVWC 2014 presenter Simon Winchester has produced a new book for the Smithsonian series, WHEN THE SKY BREAKS. 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, DAYS WITHOUT END. This from 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, WEATHER, WEATHER, 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.


caromarch-coverSVWC alumnus Robert 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.


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.


collins-coverThe former U.S. Poet Laureate has released his 12th volume of poetry, THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL. 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, WAGING WAR. 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.