Damon Runyon, author of the taut "Guys And Dolls" tales of old Broadway, used to say, "No one can tell me anything about keeping 'em short." Well, Lydia Davis can. Some of her stories are mere pages, some a few paragraphs, some just a few sentences.
Of course, Runyon wrote for manna, while Davis writes for mind. Her work has been cited for its psychological and philosophical weight. Some critics call it more poetry than prose. Some say she has invented a new form altogether.
Ms. Davis won the Man Booker International Prize (a new challenger to the Nobel Prize) this year for her body of work. In 2003 she won a MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called "genius" award).
Ms. Davis will speak at Ithaca College for its Distinguished Visiting Writers Series on Thursday 19 September at 6 pm at Handwerker Gallery.
We wrote back and forth with Ms. Davis this week for an interview for the Ithaca Times. We can report that she is a friendly and generous correspondent. The interview will appear this Wednesday in the Times' print version, and at ithacatimes.com.