Orange Alert

How to Read the Air

Acclaimed novelist Dinaw Mengestu will give a reading followed by Q & A session

Nov. 23, 2015, by Cyndi Moritz

Dinaw Mengestu
Dinaw Mengestu

The Raymond Carver Reading Series in the College of Arts and Sciences continues with a reading by acclaimed novelist Dinaw Mengestu.

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Mengestu will participate in an audience Q&A session at 3:45 p.m., followed by an author reading at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public, and take place in Gifford Auditorium. For more information, contact Sarah Harwell G’05, associate director of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, at

"We’re very pleased to welcome Dinaw Mengestu to our series,” Harwell says. “He is a compelling writer, able to portray morally complex situations and characters in prose that is both readable and poetic. Profound, sad and yet generous, his novels refuse to find easy solace in standard tropes of the immigrant experience.”

Mengestu is the author of the critically acclaimed novels "All Our Names" (Knopf, 2014), "How to Read the Air" (Riverhead Books, 2010) and "The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears" (Riverhead Books, 2007). The Ethiopian-born writer is also a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s Magazine. Mengestu teaches English at Brooklyn College and Georgetown University, where he has held the Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics. He has received major awards from the MacArthur Foundation, National Book Foundation and the New Yorker.

In writing about “All Our Names” in The New York Times, Malcolm Jones says, “There is great sadness and much hard truth in this novel, as there is everywhere in Mengestu’s fiction. But like the best storytellers, he knows that endings don’t have to be happy to be satisfying, that mysteries don’t need to be explained, that discriminating between what can and can’t be known is more than enough. And he is generous enough to imbue his characters with this awareness as well.”

Named for the legendary fiction writer who taught at Syracuse during the Eighties, the Carver Series brings 12-14 prominent writers to campus each year. The series is organized and presented by the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing in conjunction with an undergraduate course called “Living Writers” (ETS 107). Both the program and course are housed in the Department of English

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