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GUILDERLAND: Writer's group holds master class

For the third time, the New York State Writers Institute is offering a special autumn treat for local writers.

It's called the fiction master class, an intensive five-session workshop intended for advanced writers that will be conducted by acclaimed fiction writer and French literature translator Lydia Davis.

The class is free and open to the public, as well as University at Albany students enrolled in the English department's master's or doctoral programs, yet will be limited to a selection of 10 writers who have had at least one publication in a literary journal.

Suzanne Lance, assistant director of the Writer's Institute, said the class was created specifically for advanced writers to give them the chance to work with an accomplished writer, she said.

Davis, who is teaching the class for the third time, is famous in literary circles for her short stories. In fall 2003, she received one of 25 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" awards, and she was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her fiction and her distinguished translations of works by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, Michel Butor and others. Davis's most recent collection of short stories, published this past May, titled "Varieties of Disturbance," was featured on the front cover of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Another one of Davis's notable collections from 2001, "Samuel Johnson Is Indignant" was praised by Elle magazine, and another previous work, "Almost No Memory," was chosen as one of the "25 Favorite Books of 1997" by the Voice Literary Supplement and one of the "100 Best Books of 1997" by the Los Angeles Times. Another collection of stories, "Break It Down,"(1986) was selected as a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, which contributed to Davis's winning of the prestigious Whiting Writer's Award in 1988.

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