by: Whitney Hale
(Jan. 22, 2015) — A friendship with novelist and new University of Kentucky faculty member Hannah Pittard led to Ann Beattie becoming keynote speaker for the 2015 Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The conference, which runs Sept. 11-12, will follow the publication of Beattie’s next book, "The State We’re In: Maine Stories," in August.
"Ann Beattie is a living legend whom we’ve always wanted to bring to the conference. Professor Pittard’s arrival in Lexington and her experience as Beattie’s student at the University of Virginia made this the perfect year to host Ann,” Conference Director Julie Kuzneski Wrinn said.
A popular and critically acclaimed short story writer, Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections, in John Updike’s "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" and in Jennifer Egan’s "The Best American Short Stories 2014." Among her many awards in the genre, Beattie received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story in 2000 and the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2005.
"Older readers came of age with Beattie’s celebrated early work, and like an inheritance to be passed along, we’re excited to acquaint younger generations with it. But Beattie hasn’t stopped writing and evolving, and her newest work merits our appreciation as well," Wrinn said.
The writer's collections include "Distortions" (Doubleday, 1976); "Secrets and Surprises" (Random House, 1979); "The Burning House" (Random House, 1982); "Where You'll Find Me" (Linden Press, 1986); "What Was Mine" (Random House, 1991); "Park City: New and Selected Stories" (Knopf, 1998); "Perfect Recall" (Scribner, 2001); "Follies: New Stories" (Scribner, 2005); and novella "Walks With Men" (Scribner, 2010). In addition, 48 of Beattie's stories previously published in The New Yorker were collected in "The New Yorker Stories" (Scribner, 2010).
Equally as prolific as a novelist, Beattie has published eight novels, including "Chilly Scenes of Winter" (Doubleday, 1976); "Falling in Place" (Random House, 1980); "Love Always" (Random House, 1985); "Picturing Will" (Random House, 1990); "Another You" (Knopf, 1995); "My Life, Starring Dara Falcon" (Knopf, 1997); "The Doctor’s House" (Scribner 2002); and "Mrs. Nixon: A Writer Imagines a Life" (Scribner, 2012). Her writing has been translated into many languages, including book publications in France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Japan and China.
The Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia (Emerita), Beattie is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds a bachelor's degree from American University and a master's degree from University of Connecticut.
Beattie and her husband, painter/sculptor Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida. The writer is currently finishing up her next story collection, expected in 2016 from Scribner.
The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is an annual event known for bringing notable women writers to Lexington for readings, writing workshops and discussions. A program housed in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, the conference is made possible in part by continued community partnerships, including its primary venue, the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.
As the keynote speaker of the conference, Beattie will present a free public address. Assistant Professor Pittard, author of "The Fates Will Find Their Way" (Ecco) and "Reunion" (Grand Central, 2014), will join Beattie for a question-and-answer session after the speaker's talk. Beattie will also lead a fiction craft talk for conference registrants only on Sept. 11-12. Registration opens May 1.
For more information on the conference or events writer Ann Beattie, visit online at www.kentuckywomenwriters.org.