Readings and writings
It’s National Novel Writing Month and at least one hardy – and unnamed – Stanford staffer has taken the month off and is taking seriously the challenge of producing a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, Nov. 30. . . . If you’ve already got a piece of fiction you think might be prize worthy, the deadline for the Alumni Association Fiction Contest is Thursday, Nov. 5. The contest is open to alumni of Stanford undergraduate, graduate and fellowship programs, including the Knight and Stegner fellowships. . . . And speaking of Stegners, ADAM JOHNSON, lecturer in English and a former Stegner Fellow, has received a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award. . . . We’re keeping our collective fingers crossed for ADRIENNE MAYOR, whose new book, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, is a finalist for a National Book Award in the nonfiction category. Mayor is a longtime visiting scholar of classics and of history of science. The winners will be announced Nov. 18. . . .
IRVIN YALOM, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, will be the toast of Vienna this month, as this year’s guest for “Eine STADT. Ein BUCH” (“A town. A book.”), an annual community reading project in which 100,000 copies of a chosen title are printed and distributed free-of-charge to the citizens of the Austrian capital through bookstores, libraries, schools, the Vienna Book Fair and other venues. This year, the city will read and discuss Yalom’s novel When Nietzsche Wept, which deals with a fictional encounter of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and Josef Breuer, the Austrian physician and physiologist who is widely regarded as the co-founder of psychoanalysis. The celebration includes a gala dinner Nov. 15 in Vienna City Hall. . . . MICHAEL MARMOR, professor of ophthalmology, who has done extensive research on the role of vision and eye disease in art, has co-authored a new book, The Artist’s Eyes: Vision and the History of Art. A description on Amazon.com describes it as a “fascinating juxtaposition of science and art history.” Marmor and his co-author, James Ravin, also an ophthalmologist, “focus on the eye, where the process of vision originates, and investigate how aspects of vision have inspired and confounded many of the world’s most famous artists.” . . . Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa by RUTHANN RICHTER, director of media relations in the Medical School’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, and her former Escondido Village roommate, documentary photographer KAREN ANDE, recently hit the bookshelves. “From Africa and back, it’s been a seven-year journey to bring this project to life,” Richter said. “We will be donating all proceeds to organizations that help children in Africa.” Richter and Ande will be giving talks at various Bay Area venues. The dates are on their book’s website.