Standing Room Only at Edward P. Jones Reading


On Thursday, November 13, New York Times-bestselling author Edward P. Jones concluded his Distinguished Visiting Scholar appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences with a reading at the Poetry Center in the Sawyer Library.  Jones, a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, read from his work to an overflow audience.

Professor Jennifer Barber of the English Department introduced Jones, praising his literary achievements. “The scope and depth of his work is hard to put into words – the characters stamp themselves indelibly on your mind,” Barber said. “His characters are not reducible to a set of circumstances.”

In a quiet and dramatic voice, Jones read an excerpt from his 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Known World.  He also read two of his short works, “The Devil Swims Across the Anacostia” and “Blindsided,” both from his latest collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children

During his stay at Suffolk, Jones visited literature and creative writing classes, giving talks and discussing his creative process.  His stories focus on ordinary people in situations that find them examining their personal reactions to seemingly vast, intangible topics such as the meanings of race, class and human rights.  Using a journalist’s economy of words, Jones conveys a deep emotional, psychological and spiritual unrest in his characters — but he also employs humor to highlight the drama of their lives.

Jones is best known for his short fiction, and his work has earned accolades from critics and readers.  Jones received the 1992 PEN/Hemingway award for his first collection, Lost in the City. His novel The Known World was also shortlisted for the National Book Award.  Based in the Washington D.C. area, he has taught fiction at the University of Maryland, George Washington University and Princeton University.

The Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program of the College of Arts and Sciences brings prominent, nationally and internationally renowned scholars, artists, and intellectuals to the Boston campus for stays ranging from one week to a month. Throughout the academic year, Scholars teach courses, deliver lectures, and host workshops and roundtables.  For further information on events for the current academic year, please visit the Program’s page at

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