David Means Craft Talk—A Life in Fiction: Building and Maintain a Useful, Flexible, Artist Credo

Slonim Living Room / Stone Room

Open to the public

/ Wednesday


David Means will talk in personal terms about his life as a short story writer, his struggle to cross over from one genre to another, beginning as a poet, moving to the short story and then, after a long struggle, to the novel form; and about the importance of locating a personal set of rules, visions, regulations, and sources of inspiration in order to sustain yourself, to embrace the power of the imagination (in a world that, with determination, casts doubt on the power to imagine) as an artist over the long run, and to help locate a true writing style and voice.

David Means is the author of four short story collections, including Assorted Fire Events, winner of The Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle, The Secret Goldfish, and The Spot. His novel, Hystopia, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. Means’ stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Vice, The Paris Review, Best American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Prize Stories. His new collection, Instructions for a Funeral, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

“The artist is distinguished from all other responsible actors in society—the politicians, legislators, educators, and scientists—by the fact that he [or she] is his own test tube, his own laboratory, working according to very rigorous rules, however unstated these may be, and cannot allow any consideration to supersede his responsibility to reveal all that he can possibly discover concerning the mystery of the human being.” James Baldwin, The Creative Process