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Source: Daniel A. Hoyt, 785-532-2168, danhoyt@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

NOVELIST PHILIPP MEYER, ONE OF NEW YORKER'S TOP 20 UNDER 40, SPEAKING FEB. 25

MANHATTAN -- Author Philipp Meyer, who in 2010 was selected as one of The New Yorker's top 20 fiction writers under the age of 40, will read and discuss his work at Kansas State University.

Meyer's presentation will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, in the Little Theater at the K-State Student Union. A short question-and-answer session and a book signing will follow. All events are free and open to the public.

Meyer's first novel, "American Rust," was named one of the best books of 2009 by numerous magazines and newspapers. The novel begins with a murder in chapter one and then examines the complexities of emotion, honor and responsibility that follow.

It's a deeply literary novel, but also a finely plotted page-turner and a social document that scrutinizes the 21st-century tragedy of a dying steel town, said Daniel Hoyt, assistant professor of English at K-State.

"At its core 'American Rust' is the story of the two young men involved in the death, but the novel -- through stream of consciousness -- examines the lives and mindsets of six major characters," Hoyt said. "Reviews of 'American Rust' place Meyer in a tradition of American realism that includes John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner."

Inclusion on The New Yorker's 20 under 40 list brings great attention to and scrutiny of the selected writers, Hoyt said. The magazine'soriginal 20 under 40 list, published in 1999, included several little-known writers who have since become major literary figures, including Jonathan Franzen, Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz.

"Although lists like The New Yorker's can be debated, they help more readers find more writers," Hoyt said. "Meyer is immensely talented, and his work is immensely human. All kinds of readers should be aware of 'American Rust,' and we hope people will come out to get a taste of Meyer's work Feb. 25."

Meyer's reading is sponsored by the K-State's department of English.