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Department of English Language and Literature

  • Four authors of 2022 Open Book series

The Open Book

(L-R) Edwidge Danticat | Emily St. John Mandel | Paul Muldoon | Ruth Ozeki

Open Book 2022

A literary series, a public course, and a community reading experience all in one, the Open Book is hosted each spring by Elise Blackwell and sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. The spring 2022 event will feature Ruth Ozeki, Edwidge Danticat, Paul Muldoon, and Emily St. John Mandel. All events are free and open to the public, and all take place at 6pm in the Campus Room of the Capstone Bldg., UofSC Columbia.

Ruth Ozeki   Ruth Ozeki (March 16)

Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest whose books have garnered international acclaim for their ability to integrate issues of science, technology, religion, environmental politics, and global pop culture into unique, hybrid, narrative forms. We’ll be discussing her two most recent novels. A Tale for the Time Being won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has been published in over thirty countries. The publication of her newest, The Book of Form and Emptiness, has been one of 2021’s major literary events. The novel tells the story of a young boy who, after the death of his father, finds solace in the companionship of his very own book.

Talk by Elise Blackwell on Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and The Book of Form and Emptiness, March 14.

Ozeki speaks in person, March 16.

Edwidge Danticat    Edwidge Danticat (March 23)

Danticat is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of more than twelve books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Farming of Bones, and Brother, I’m Dying. Her stunning collection Everything Inside contains vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Story Prize, and the 2020 Vilcek Prize in Literature and was named a Best Book of 2019 by NPR, Time, and Esquire. It has been widely lauded for both its skilled storytelling and enduring emotional resonance.

Talk by Greg Forter on Danticat’s Everything Inside, March 21.

Danticat speaks in person, March 23.

Paul Muldoon     Paul Muldoon (March 30)

Muldoon is an Irish poet, editor, playwright, lyricist and translator. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Muldoon is the author of fourteen full-length collections of poetry, whose many awards include the Shakespeare Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the European Prize for Poetry, and the Seamus Heaney Award. Muldoon is currently editing a book of the lyrics of Paul McCartney and has played with Warren Zevon as well as Muldoon’s own occasional musical group, Rogue Oliphant. The title of his newest collection, Howdie-Skelp, refers to the slap a midwife gives a newborn. A wake-up call for us all, its poems include a nightmarish remake of The Waste Land, an elegy for fellow Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson, and a crown of sonnets about the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talk by Ed Madden on Muldoon’s Howdie-Skelp, March 28.

Muldoon speaks in person, March 30.

Emily St. John Mandel     Emily St. John Mandel (April 6)

Mandel is the author of five novels, including The Singer’s Gun, Last Night in Montreal, and the international bestseller Station Eleven. Her newest book, The Glass Hotel, is a both a ghost story and a tale of white-collar crime that moves between a ship, the towers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of remote British Columbia as it paints a surprisingly poetic portrait of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the haunting of memory. It was selected by former President Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of 2020, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. NPR declared it “a masterpiece,” and it was named one of the best books of the year by such wide-ranging places as the New Yorker, Time, Elle, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, the Economist, and the BBC.

Talk by Elise Blackwell on Mandel’s The Glass Hotel, April 4.

Mandel in person, in conversation with Blackwell, April 6.

Elise Blackwell


The Open Book is hosted by Elise Blackwell. Blackwell is the author of five novels, most recently The Lower Quarter. Her short prose has appeared in the Atlantic, Witness, Brick, Seed, and other publications. Her work has been named to several best-of-the-year lists, translated into multiple languages, adapted for the stage, and served as inspiration for a Decemberists' song. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of South Carolina, of which she is former director.

View lists of past years' authors.

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