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A public reading by Australian author Peter Carey will be the centerpiece of the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter’s two-day residency at Lafayette Nov. 29-30, during which the will interact extensively with students.

As Lafayette’s Closs Visiting Writer-in-Residence for 2000-01, Carey will read from his work at 4:10 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. At noon that day, he will speak informally in the Marlo Room of Farinon College Center with students, including those in the creative writing course of Lee Upton, professor of English and writer-in-residence, and the contemporary fiction course of Ian D. Smith, assistant professor of English. This question-and-answer session is open to all.

Carey will also interact with students during a welcoming reception and question-and-answer session, including a book signing, residency Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 4:10 p.m. in the Marlo Room. At 7 p.m. that evening there will be a screening of the film adaptation of his novel Oscar and Lucinda, followed by discussion with Carey at 9:15 p.m., in the Farinon Center’s Limburg Theater. (The film also will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 28.)

“Peter Carey is rightly regarded as one of the finest novelists in the world,” says Upton, an accomplished poet and critic. “His visit will be of inestimable value to our students. They’ll have the good fortune to talk with him and hear him read and discuss his remarkable new work. They’ll no doubt benefit from his candor about his own processes as a writer.”

In 1998 Oscar and Lucinda won the Booker Prize, sponsored by Booker McConnell Ltd and administered by the National Book League in the United Kingdom. The prize is awarded to the best full-length novel written in English by a citizen of the United Kingdom, a British Commonwealth nation, Ireland, Pakistan, or South Africa.

The novel also won the Miles Franklin Award, the National Book Council Award, and the Adelaide Festival Award. It was made into a feature film directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.

Carey won the National Book Council’s Banjo Award for 1989. In 1990, he co-wrote Till The End of the World with Wirn Wenders.

Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria in 1943. He attended Geelong Grammar School and enrolled in the sciences at Monash University. Between 1962 and 1967, Carey worked as a copywriter in various Melbourne advertising agencies. In the late 1960s, he traveled through Europe and the Middle East and then worked in advertising in London for a time. He returned to Australia in 1970, working in various advertising agencies in Melboume and Sydney, and writing most of the stories that appear in The Fat Man in History (1974) and the stories “War Crimes” and “The Chance,” which appear in the War Crimes (1979) collection.

In the late 1970s, Carey moved to an “alternative community” at Bandana in Queensland, writing for three weeks a month, and returning to Sydney to work at Grey Advertising for the fourth week. During this time he published his first novel, Bliss (1980). In 1980, Carey returned to Sydney, where he opened his own advertising agency, and in 1981 he moved to Ballinger in northern New South Wales, where he wrote Ill whacker (1985). Bliss was made into a film in 1985 by producer Anthony Buckley and director Ray Lawrence, who worked with Carey on the script. That year it was named Best Film in Australia’s annual film awards. The Bellingen Valley and its surroundings also provided some of the inspiration for Oscar and Lucinda.

Peter Carey has lived in New York City since the late 1980s, when he began teaching creative writing at New York University. His most recent novels include The Tax Inspector (1991), The Unusual life of Tristan Smith (1994), the children’s book The Big Bazoohley (1995), and the novel Jack Maggs. In recent years, he wrote the screen adaptation of Paul Auster’s novel The Locked Room and the screenplay of Jack Maggs, which won the 1998 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Miles Franklin Award. Carey’s work is featured in the New Yorker and GRANTA.

The Closs Fund was established Fred Closs, a long-time member of the Lafayette English faculty and originator of Lafayette’s Roethke Humanities Festival, in memory of his mother, Ruth Mary Callahan Closs.

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