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Word Works | Sigrid Nunez: Giving Full Play to the Imagination

May 21, 2020 at 7:00 PM

For her Word Works craft talk, National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez will speak about playfulness, imagination, and how to give in to the pull toward the unknown that all writers face when embarking upon a project. Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award in Fiction for her novel The Friend, which the New Yorker called “an impressively controlled portrait of the ‘exhaustion of mourning.’”

After the talk, Nunez will be interviewed onstage and take part in an audience Q&A.


Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of GodThe Last of Her Kind, and, most recently, The Friend, which won the 2018 National Book Award for fiction and was a finalist for the 2019 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Nunez’s other honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature.


“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

―Sigrid Nunez, from The Friend


Word Works craft talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work. These talks are designed to apply to writers of all genres as well as illuminate well-known works for avid readers. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.