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“Readings in Honor of Jonathan Franzen”

A Free Fitzgerald Literary Festival Event Co-sponsored with The Writer's Center



4508 WALSH ST., BETHESDA 20815


Featuring Louis Bayard, David Means, Marcela Valdes and a response from Jonathan Franzen

Louis Bayard. In the words of the New York Times, Bayard “reinvigorates historical fiction,” rendering the past “as if he’d witnessed it firsthand.” His acclaimed novels include Jackie & Me, The Pale Blue Eye (now a Netflix motion picture starring Christian Bale), the national bestseller Courting Mr. Lincoln, Roosevelt's Beast, The School of Night, The Black Tower, and Mr. Timothy, as well as the highly praised young-adult novel, Lucky Strikes. A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards, and his story, “Banana Triangle Six,” was chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories. His reviews and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Salon. An instructor at George Washington University, he is the chair of the PEN/Faulkner Awards and was the author of the popular Downton Abbey recaps for the New York Times.

David Means is the author of seven short story collections, including Assorted Fire Events (2000), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Secret Goldfish, which was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize; The Spot (2010), which was a New York Times Notable Book; and, most recently, Two Nurses Smoking (2022). His novel, Hystopia (2016), was nominated for the Mann Booker Prize. His stories appear frequently in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope; he has been the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes, three Pushcart Prizes; and his work has been selected for The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. His non-fiction has appeared in Harper’s and The New York Times; and his first non-fiction book, Pivot: Ruminations in the Shadow of Death, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013, he is a professor at Vassar College.

Marcela Valdes.jpg

Marcela Valdes is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine. A specialist in Latino and Latin American culture and politics, she has published profiles of the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, the Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, and the Spanish pop star Rosalía, as well as investigative features about American immigration policy and Latino conservatives. Before joining the Times, Ms. Valdes spent more than a decade working in and around the world of book publishing, serving twice on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. In 2009, she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism from Harvard University and in 2010 she received the Roger Shattuck Award for Criticism from the Center for Fiction.

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