Gordon in the News: last updated 11/09/2011

Princemere Writers Series: Award-winning Essayist Sven Birkerts Speaks at Gordon

October 26, 2011

Jo Kadlecek
Senior Writer

Wenham, MA—Award-winning essayist Sven Birkerts doesn’t just read and write; he engages with literature as if “it were a destiny of his soul.” On Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m., Birkerts will present his work in the Jenks Library of Gordon College, room 237, as part of the College’s Princemere Writers Series. The event is free and open to the public.

“I’ve been admiring Sven Birkerts’ sentences and parroting his ideas for years,” said Mark Stevick, associate professor of English at Gordon College. “He’s so good he makes me want to write and to give up the pen by turns.”

The editor of AGNI since 2002, Birkerts is an American essayist, author of nine books, and a literary critic of Latvian ancestry. He is best known for his book The Gutenberg Elegies, an exploration of the decline in reading due to the advances of the Internet and other technologies. His most recent book The Other Walk is a collection of essays, which was released last month.

In addition to winning grants from the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation, Birkerts was the winner of the Citation of Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle in 1985 and the Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award from PEN for the best book of essays in 1990. Birkerts has reviewed regularly for the New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Mirabella, Parnassus, The Yale Review, and other publications. He has taught writing at Harvard University, Emerson College, Amherst College, and Mount Holyoke College, and is the director of the graduate Bennington Writing Seminars. Birkerts lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.

“It’s a rare honor to receive a visit by such a major, galvanizing writer,” said Stevick. “For anyone interested in language and the art of writing, this is a great opportunity. I hope scads of people turn out to hear him.”

The Princemere Writers Series, which began in 1988 at Gordon, has hosted guest artists such as poets John Canaday, Daniel Bosch, prose writer Joseph Hurka, and others.


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 38 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu


Sven Birkerts