Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Jane: Anne Fadiman at Coe
One of my favorite writers came to campus this week: Anne Fadiman, author of "The Spirit Catches you and you Fall Down," our first-year book this year.
(All the first-year students are sent a copy of the book during the summer; they're expected to read it and be ready to discuss it in their First Year Seminar class.)
When I heard they actually were able to get her to campus, I was beside myself. "Let me know if you need anyone to carry her luggage, or get her from the airport, or whatever," I told one of my colleagues who was on the committee. Later, he asked if I would get her from the hotel. Of course! And then, two days before she arrived, he asked if I'd like to join the committee and Ms. Fadiman at dinner--of course of course!
She turned out to be an excellent speaker and a gracious and charming guest--we all had such fun talking with her at dinner. As my colleague put it, she was just the way she sounds in her essays (besides "The Spirit Catches you" she's also the author of two books of essays); which is to say she is articulate, witty, gracious, humble, and interested. She spoke on Sunday about her writing process, answering questions from the students in the audience. On Monday, she spoke about the writing of "The Spirit Catches you" and encouraged the students.
I brought a copy of one of her collections of essays, "Ex Libris," to our dinner and she signed it, a wonderful memento of her visit.