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Acclaimed Authors Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt to Spend Three-Day Residency at Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges

February 15, 2013
By Jacob Cohn '13

Literary power couple Siri Hustvedt and her husband Paul Auster will spend a three-day residency in Northfield Feb. 20-22. The residency will include faculty seminars at both Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, as well as three public appearances. All events are free and open to the public.

The two acclaimed authors will present a joint reading of Auster’s latest work, Winter Journal (Henry Holt and Co., 2012) and Hustvedt’s latest work, The Summer Without Men (Picador, 2011) at Carleton College’s Great Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 20 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The author reading will be followed by a book signing and reception.

Auster and Hustvedt will also appear in a joint interview on Thursday, Feb. 21 beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Viking Theater at St. Olaf College’s Buntrock Commons, which will be led by St. Olaf writer-in-residence Benjamin Percy (author of The Wilding and Red Moon).

And on Friday, Feb. 22, Hustvedt will present Carleton’s weekly convocation address at 10:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Entitled “Reflections on Creativity: Memory, Imagination, Narrative and the Self,” her lecture will draw upon her study of psychoanalysis, philosophy and neuroscience in looking at how personal experience and memory become transformed into narrative.

Auster appears at Carleton as the Fred W. and Margaret C. Schuster Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Literature, while Hustvedt comes as the Christopher U. Light Lecturer in Literature.

Hustvedt is the author of five novels, two books of essays, a work of nonfiction and a book of poetry. Her works repeatedly pose questions about the nature of identity, selfhood and perception and delve into issues related to mental health. The Summer Without Men, set in a rural Midwestern town, focuses on issues of love and marriage. Her other work includes What I Loved (Hodder and Stoughton, 2003), perhaps her best-known novel, which focuses on grief and hysteria. Hustvedt’s forays into nonfiction include her recent book The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves (Picador, 2010), a “neurological memoir” that takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying her own seizure disorder.

Auster has written over a dozen novels as well as five screenplays and several memoirs and books of poetry. Auster is influenced by psychoanalysis and poststructuralism, and his protagonists often seek meaning in their lives through writing. Winter Journal, a memoir, deals with the topic of his mother’s life and death. Auster is also known for The New York Trilogy (Faber and Faber, 1987), a collection of three stories that have been described as “metamysteries” or “anti-detective fiction,” and for his debut work, The Invention of Solitude (Sun Publishing, 1982), a memoir that focuses on themes of Auster’s writing such as coincidence, absence and fate.

A Northfield native, Hustvedt is a graduate of Northfield High School, St. Olaf College and Columbia University. Her father, the late Lloyd Hustvedt, was chair of the Department of Norwegian at St. Olaf. Auster grew up in New Jersey and is also a Columbia graduate. Auster and Hustvedt have been married since 1982 and currently live in Brooklyn, N.Y.

For more information about events on Carleton’s campus, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Office of College Relations at (507) 222-4308. The Great Hall is located in Severance Hall, off College Street in Northfield on the Carleton College campus. Buntrock Commons is located off St. Olaf Avenue on the St. Olaf campus. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First and College Streets in Northfield.