Alice McDermott, National Book Award-winning novelist to read from her latest book, April 15, 2015

McDermott's novel "Someone" named "Best Book of the Year" by NPR, "New York Times," and "Washington Post"

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Alice McDermott, author of the novel "Someone" (2013) Photo credit: Jamie Shoenerger

ALBANY, NY (03/24/2015)(readMedia)-- Alice McDermott, major American novelist, winner of the National Book Award for Charming Billy (1998), and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, will speak Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. in the Biotech Auditorium, Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Rensselaer (RPI), Troy. The event is free and open to the public, and is cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with Rensselaer's 74nd Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading.

A major American novelist, McDermott is the author most recently of Someone (2013), the story of one woman's "ordinary" life across the decades of the 20th century in an Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn, New York.

Someone was named a "Best Book of the Year" by NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. The New York Times described it as "A fine-tuned, beautiful book filled with so much universal experience, such haunting imagery, such urgent matters of life and death." The New Yorker reviewer called it, "A remarkable portrait of an unremarkable life." Writing in the Washington Post, Roxana Robinson said, "Fear and vulnerability, joy and passion, the capacity for love and pain and grief: Those are common to us all. Those are the things that great novelists explore. And it's this exploration, made with tenderness, wisdom, and caritas, that's at the heart of Alice McDermott's masterpiece." Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Celia McGee said, "With every ray of light and with every darkness slicing through it, McDermott has written the history of half a century, the whole story of a tender, spunky woman's life, and a novel with a spark of the holiness that accrues to great books." The novel was short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

McDermott's previous novels include Charming Billy (1998), winner of the National Book Award and American Book Award, and three Pulitzer Prize finalists: That Night (1987), At Weddings and Wakes (1992), and After This (2006). Also nominated for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, That Night was adapted as a 1992 film starring Juliette Lewis.

McDermott's many honors include the Whiting Writers Award, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award and the Corrington Award for Literature. In 2014, she was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A graduate of SUNY Oswego, she is currently the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

McDermott's appearance at Rensselaer is cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with Rensselaer's 74th Annual McKinney Writing Contest and Reading.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at