Exploring M.A.R.S.

Ever pick up a book and find yourself asking questions that you wish the author could simply answer right then and there? Well, the good news is that this year all a Jasper had to do was ask.

Ever pick up a book and find yourself asking questions that you wish the author could simply answer right then and there? Well, the good news is that this year all a Jasper had to do was ask.

In the fall, the Manhattan College English department and the school of arts launched a new program called the Major Authors Reading Series (M.A.R.S.), in which acclaimed writers of a variety of works were invited to campus to give readings followed by discussions, book signings and receptions to encourage students to engage in this interactive experience an expand their literary knowledge.

 The first esteemed author of the semester was acclaimed poet Marie Howe, author of The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, The Good Thief and What the Living Do. In November, Frank Bures, an award-winning travel and nonfiction writer visited the College and gave a different style of writing a presence in the program. Bures’ work has been featured in such publications as Harper’s, Esquire, Outside, Washington Post Magazine, L.A. Times and the Travel Channel’s WorldHum.com. The semester came to a close as M.A.R.S. welcomed celebrated novelist Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Good Squad, The Keep, Look at Me, Emerald City and Other Stories, and The Invisible Circus. The authors offered insider excerpts from their latest works and discussed their future writing endeavors.

In the spring, the program began with Rick Moody, award-winning novelist and memoirist, whose books include The Ice Storm, Garden State, The Four Fingers of Death and The Black Veil: A Memoir With Digressions. Tina Chang, the Poet Laureate of Brooklyn and author of Half-Lit Houses followed and presented her latest work to students at the end of April.

The first two semesters were successful for the M.A.R.S. program, as it has brought writings to life through presentation, discussion and analysis, and is on its way to becoming a vital part of the campus culture.