Everything and More: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace, Reading 3, 16 March 2011 – Video

Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 16, 2011.

David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) was one of the most acclaimed and influential American writers of his generation. A gifted novelist, essayist and humorist, he is best known for his 1996 opus, the novel Infinite Jest. His other books include his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987), followed by the short story collections Girl With Curious Hair (1989) and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999), the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider the Lobster (2005), and the nonfiction work Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (2003). He received a Whiting Writers’ Award in 1987, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in 1996, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, educated at Amherst College, and lived for many years in Illinois. He taught creative writing at Pomona College in Claremont, California, from 2002 until his death in 2008.

book cover graphic An evening in celebration of the life and work of DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (1962-2008). Writers David Lipsky, Rick Moody, and Joanna Scott will read some of their favorite selections from Wallace’s writings followed by an in depth discussion moderated by Michael Silverblatt, host of the radio interview program, Bookworm.

Abstraction has all kinds of problems and headaches built in, we all know. Part of the hazard is how we use nouns. We think of nouns’ meanings in terms of denotations. Nouns stand for things–man, desk, pen, David, head, aspirin. A special kind of comedy results when there’s confusion about what’s a real noun, as in ‘Who’s on first?’ or those Alice in Wonderland routines–’What can you see on the road?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What great eyesight! What does nothing look like?’ The comedy tends to vanish, though, when the nouns denote abstractions, meaning general concepts divorced from particular instances. Many of these abstraction-nouns come from root verbs. ‘Motion’ is a noun, and ‘existence’; we use words like this all the time. The confusion comes when we try to consider what exactly they mean.
– From Everything and More.

Joanna Scott is the author of eight novels, including Liberation, Tourmaline, Make Believe, The Manikin, Arrogance, and most recently Follow Me (2009) as well as two collections of short fiction, Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals such as The Paris Review, Harper’s, Esquire, and Conjunctions and she has reviewed for The New York Times, The Nation, and The Los Angeles Times. Scott has been honored with a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her books have been finalists for the Pulizter Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and The Los Angeles Times Book Award. She is the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester.
Joanna Scott Bio and Cross Links

Michael Silverblatt, a New York native, studied at Johns Hopkins University, where he came under the influence of such cutting-edge author-teachers as Donald Barthelme and John Barth. Dubbed “the best reader in America” by Norman Mailer, he is the host of the literary talk show Bookworm, which he created in 1989 for KCRW 89.9 FM in Santa Monica. He has participated in numerous Readings & Conversations programs, interviewing Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, Salman Rushdie, and A.S. Byatt, among others. Bookworm airs locally on KSFR 101.1FM every Sunday at 1:30pm.
Michael Silverblatt Bio and Cross Links

Additional photos of this event are available on Flickr.

You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website.