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Acclaimed Author Jennifer Clement Teaching at Baruch College as Spring 2020 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence

Award-winning novelist and president of PEN International, Jennifer Clement, is Baruch College's spring 2020 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence.Photo Credit: Omar Meneses

Jennifer Clement, award-winning novelist and Guggenheim Fellow, is Baruch College’s spring 2020 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. The acclaimed writer is the president of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded almost a century ago. During the semester, Clement will teach a fiction writing workshop, “To No Longer Be Yourself” that draws upon the premise that a writer can imagine anything, an idea inspired by acclaimed French novelist Gustave Flaubert.

“Jennifer Clement is both an enormously talented writer and a fiercely dedicated global activist who embodies the kind of leadership that Baruch students respond to so strongly,” said Professor Esther Allen, director of the Harman Program. “It’s an honor to have her with us as we embark on the crucial year of 2020.”

Clement, whose works have been translated into 30 languages, is the author of four novels: A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates, Prayers for the Stolen, and Gun Love, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. The book was recognized as a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of Time’s 10 Best Fiction Books of 2018, and named among Library Journal’s Best Books of 2018. Clement also wrote the memoir Widow Basquiat, based on the life of renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. She has, in addition, published four books of poetry, including The Next Stranger, introduced by former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner, the late W.S. Merwin.

Clement said she wants her spring semester writing workshop to help students “feel confidence and trust in their imagination.” As a teacher, her deepest hope is to “both encourage and always respect a student’s original voice and, in some cases, even help to discover that voice.”

As Harman Writer-in-Residence, Clement joins 42 distinguished writers—including Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, National Book Awardees, and Poet Laureates—who have participated in the program, endowed by the College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, during the past 20 years.

  • UPCOMING EVENTS: A reading and conversation with Clement will be held on March 31, 2020 in the Newman Library Building, Room 700. The free event is open to the public. Event information is here.
  • Clement will also participate in a student-organized event on April 1 on “Activism in the Americas” with Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Graciela Mochkofsky, moderated by Gisele Regatao.
  • Clement will be part of Baruch's annual collaboration with the PEN World Voices Festival, "Resonances: Writers on the Classics," to be held in the Mishkin Gallery on May 7.

About Baruch College’s Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program  

Founded in the fall of 1988 by Professor Roslyn Bernstein, the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program brings distinguished writers to the Baruch College campus every semester. Whether they are poets, playwrights, novelists, journalists, essayists, or critics, the Harman Writers-in-Residence enrich the Baruch environment, creating a lively literary salon for students and faculty. Endowed by alumnus Dr. Sidney Harman (’39), the Harman Program relies on an intense workshop design, where visiting writers teach small classes and hold individual conferences. In addition, the Harman Program sponsors student creative writing competitions, literary internships, individual guest readings, and a week-long residency. Read more about the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence program.

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(Story published on 1/15/19)

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