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Zale Program Welcomes Writer Claire Messud

March 05, 2009 2:45 AM
Tammy C. Carter

Claire Messud, author of the literary best-seller The Emperor's Children, is the 24th Zale Writer-in-Residence at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women. During her weeklong visit to the Tulane uptown campus, which begins on Sunday (March 8), she is scheduled to appear at three events that are free and open to the public.


The 24th Zale Writer-in-Residence is best-selling author Claire Messud, who will be involved in several events on the Tulane uptown campus on March 8–14.

Visits to several creative writing and women's studies classes also are on the schedule for the writer while she is on campus.

She will give a reading at 7:30 p.m. on Monday (March 9) in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall of the Lavin-Bernick Center, followed by a reception. On Thursday (March 12) at 6 p.m., Paula Morris, assistant professor of English, will interview Messud in Freeman Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center. Finally, on Friday (March 13) Messud will give a talk at the Newcomb College Institute at 1 p.m.

Publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune newspapers and The Economist and People magazines placed The Emperor's Children (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006) on their “best-books-of-the-year” lists. The New York Times Book Review also named the book one of the “10 Best Books of the Year” in 2006.

Messud has written reviews and articles for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Nation, Daily Telegraph (London), London Times and others. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady, and her book of novellas, The Hunters, were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her second novel, The Last Life, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and Editor's Choice at The Village Voice. All three books were New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

Born in the United States in 1966 to a French father and a Canadian mother, Messud grew up in Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. She also lived several years in London, where she was deputy editor of the Guardian newspaper's Women's Page. She has taught at various colleges and universities, including Amherst College and Kenyon College, and in the master of fine arts program at Warren Wilson College.

Educated at Yale and Cambridge universities, Messud currently lives in Somerville, Mass., with her husband and children.

Dana Zale Gerard, a 1985 Newcomb College graduate, established the Zale Writer-in-Residence program, and an annual gift from the M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation of Dallas made the program possible. In addition, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers generously has supported the program since 2006.

The Zale program is coordinated by the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, which preserves, documents, produces and disseminates knowledge about women and is part of the Newcomb College Institute.

Tammy C. Carter is external affairs officer at the Newcomb College Institute.