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Brando Skyhorse Reads at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Unknown-1Brando Skyhorse gave a delightful and unusual reading from his recent work at the 2015 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, where he was the recipient of the Axinn Foundation Fellowship in Narrative Nonfiction.

His debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been awarded fellowships at Ucross, and Can Serrat, Spain, and was the 2014-2015 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-In-Residence at George Washington University.


Skyhorse is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers’ Workshop at University of California, Irvine. A full-time visiting assistant professor in creative writing at Wesleyan University, his latest book, Take This Man: A Memoir, is available in paperback.


“NER Out Loud” Back for Its Second Year

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 10.18.57 AMNER is excited to partner with the Mahaney Center for the Arts and Oratory Now for the second annual “NER Out Loud” event. Six Middlebury students will read selected pieces published in NER in 2015, accompanied by an ASL interpreter. Following the event, we invite you to join us for a “S’more Readings” reception, to hear student authors read from their work and enjoy gourmet s’mores.

The “Out Loud” readers include August Rosenthal ’17, Mariah Levin ‘16.5, Jabari Matthew ’17, Kathleen Gudas ‘16.5, Steven Medina ’17, and Sally Seitz ’17. Student-run publications BlackbirdMiddlebury Geographic, Frame, and Translingual will be represented in the reception readings.

Please join us on Friday, March 4, at 8 PM in the Robison Hall of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The reception will take place in the downstairs lobby of the Mahaney Center immediately following the performance. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

Jeff W. Bens | Golden Day

Jeff W. Bens’s story, Golden Day, appeared in NER 19.1.

Mrs. Cashman needed eighty-seven dollars and I was determined to help her get it.

“But you mustn’t give it to me, I won’t take it,” Mrs. Cashman said, her oversized, pearl-like necklace clanking against the edge of her third refill of coffee in our hotel’s delicatessen. “You mustn’t.” Mrs. Cashman was seventy-three. She hadn’t touched the third cup, but she would, as it was free, and coffee, though she’d never say this, killed the need for food.

“I don’t have it,” I said. Her gaze dropped from mine, into the coffee and the swirl of cream she’d poured in, the coffee white, and she brought the cup to her lips.

“It’s not for me,” she sipped, “but for Mr. Newcomb. He’s eighty-four years old.”

Mr. Newcomb lived on the eleventh floor, two above mine, beside Mrs. Cashman, though to hear her tell it he would soon have to move, “to a lower floor on account of his legs, what with the eleveators always busted; or maybe straight to the funeral parlor, cut out the middle men.” The one time I’d spoken with Mr. Newcomb, or rather he to me, he was sitting alone with a cigar in the Carlson’s lobby, staring into the wallpaper. He’d startled me, turning and meeting my eyes. “Cubano,” is all he’d said. And then he’d smiled and turned his attention back to the wall.

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2016 PEN Literary Awards Shortlist

PEN American recently announced the shortlists for the 2016 PEN Literary Awards. Congratulations to all the writers recognized, and in particular to NER Poetry Editor Rick Barot, and NER contributors Reginald Dwayne Betts and Philip Metres.

51XONuBnJHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Rick Barot has published three books of poetry: The Darker Fall (2002) received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want (2008) won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. His most recent book, Chord (2015), is on the shortlist for PEN’s Open Book Award, a recognition for a book-length work by an author of color. He has worked as the Poetry Editor at NER since fall 2014.



Reginald Dwayne Betts is author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009), and Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010), which won the 2010 Beatrice Hawley Award. His newest collection, Bastards of the Reagan Era, is on the shortlist for PEN’s Open Book Award. Betts’s poetry has appeared in NER 31.4, 34.1, and 35.3.


thumbnailPhilip Metres is on the shortlist for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for his co-translated book I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovksy. He is the author of several books of original poetry as well as poetry in translation, including Sand Opera (2015), To See the Earth (2008), and Behind the Lines (2002). His work appeared in NER 34.3-4, 25.423.4, and 22.3 and is forthcoming in 2016.