When Benjamin Rachlin ’08 was studying English at Bowdoin, he wanted to be a rich short-story writer despite the paradox. But when he returned on Tuesday, it was to discuss a work of nonfiction, Rachlin’s first book, titled “Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption.” The book follows the true tale of a man who lived a life unimaginable to most Bowdoin students and delves into the ugly and overlooked cracks of America’s criminal justice system.
As contemporary interests drift away from physical books in favor of online media, people are beginning to doubt the power of literature. Yet, Wednesday night in the Beam Classroom, Dr. Alaa Al Aswany, world-renowned author and Egyptian reformer, reclaimed the agency of the written word in his lecture titled “Power of Literature.” Currently a visiting professor in Middle Eastern studies at Dartmouth College, Al Aswany is best known for his 2002 work, “The Yacoubian Building,” which offers a poignant dissection of modern Egyptian society under the facade of fiction.
The audience snapped their fingers in unison on Tuesday as Hannah Tinti began singing. The author of three critically-acclaimed novels, Tinti knows how to captivate an audience. Singing, she says, does just that. Tinti, who was at Bowdoin as part of the Alpha Delta Phi Society Visiting Writers Series, read from her most recent best-selling novel, “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley.” It’s not Tinti’s first time receiving critical acclaim.
Alternating between English and Spanish, past and present, reality and fiction, Sergio Chejfec came to Bowdoin on Monday to read and discuss his essay “The Revenge of the Idyllic.” A Guggenheim Fellow and distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s MFA in Spanish program, Chejfec has published a number of short stories, essays and books which have since been translated into various languages.
The story of a community of people raising fish in small, pristine glass tanks in dystopian America might seem far removed from reality. Chang-rae Lee revealed the story’s real-life origins as part of the Alpha Delta Phi Society visiting writer series, in a Tuesday night reading of his most recent book “On Such a Full Sea.” Lee is an English professor at Stanford University and has published numerous short stories and novels, including “Native Speaker,” “A Gesture Life,” “Aloft,” “The Surrendered” and “On Such a Full Sea,” which was published in 2014.
The clock ticked slowly past seven p.m.—when the event was scheduled to start. Amidst struggles to get the microphone functioning for the evening, Bernhard Schlink was prepared to go on. He called for the crowd to gather forth.
Rural Colorado becomes the backdrop for a new kind of utopia in veteran journalist Heather Abel’s first novel, “The Optimistic Decade,” which delves into themes of disillusionment and idealism. On Thursday evening, Abel came to campus to read from the novel and discuss her inspiration, politics and Judaism.
Brunswick residents trickled into the Curtis Memorial Library’s Morrell Meeting Room on Tuesday evening, taking their seats in a circle of chairs for a facilitated discussion about racism and bias as part of the library’s “One Book, One Community” program.