Chestertown, MD, September 8, 2006 — Washington College's Sophie Kerr Committee presents its first in a series of four events celebrating the centenary of the birth of novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett. On Tuesday, September 19, Raymond Federman will deliver "The Imaginary Museum of Samuel Beckett," a tribute in a form of a memoir from his book Le Livre de Sam, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room, Miller Library. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.
A French and English bilingual author, Federman is recognized as one on the most distinguished critics of Beckett's work and was a personal friend of the late novelist and playwright. His lecture will emphasize Beckett's visual artistry rather than the pathetic circumstances of his characters, and his reading from Le Livre de Sam will reflect on his friendship with the author.
A native of France, Federman immigrated to the United States in 1947. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from UCLA. He has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Montreal, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the University of California at San Diego. In 1990, he was promoted to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor and appointed to the Melodia E. Jones Chair of Literature in 1994. The author of four volumes of poems, several books of criticism, and numerous essays and articles, he considers himself primarily a fiction writer. He has published eight novels including To Whom it May Concern (The Fictive Collective Two, 1990), portraying the deportation and extermination of his family during World War II.
The reading is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Maryland, whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most "ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor" and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.