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Patricia Smith and Bruce DeSilva Interview Each Other
February 4, 2011 - 4:15am


This cast is very special to me; it borders perhaps on what I’d call charming, and I’m not one to overuse that word. Here National Book Award finalist in poetry Patricia Smith and crime novelist Bruce DeSilva—wife and husband—interview each other on writing, art, public lives, and domesticity.

Patricia Smith is the author of Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press); Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press), a National Poetry Series winner and a 2007 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Paterson Poetry Prize winner; Close to Death (Zoland Books); Big Towns, Big Talk (Zoland); and Life According to Motown. Patricia wrote Africans in America (Harcourt Brace), a companion volume to the four-part PBS history series, and children’s book, Janna and the Kings. She is also a four-time national individual Poetry Slam champion, was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” She’s currently a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Bruce DeSilva worked as a journalist for 40 years before retiring to write crime novels full time. Publishers Weekly hails his Rogue Island as one of the ten best debut novels of 2010, and the book has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's prestigious Edgar Award in the best first novel category. At the Associated Press, he served as the writing coach, responsible for training the wire service's reporters and editors worldwide. Stories edited by DeSilva have won virtually every major journalism prize including the Polk Award (twice), the Livingston (twice), the ASNE, and the Batten Medal. He has worked as a consultant on writing and editing at more than 50 newspapers including The New York Times.

Click here for a discussion of literary domesticity.

If you’re at the conference, see Patricia Smith today, Friday, 4:30-5:45, Virginia A Room, Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level, F218, in a panel called “Beyond Ekphrasis: The Endless Possibilities in Collaboration.” On Saturday she’ll be on the Women’s Caucus, 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m., Coolidge Room, Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level, S123.


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