Leslie Jamison is a literary star.
Her latest book, a collection of essays titled “The Empathy Exams,” was released in April to both critical acclaim and mainstream success. The book won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and debuted on The New York Times best-seller list — no small feat for a nonfiction book of essays, says Jacob Eckrich, president of the San Joaquin Literary Association, which is bringing Jamison and fellow authors Sam Lipsyte and Brynn Saito to WordFest on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Fresno State.
“She is on fire right now,” Eckrich says of Jamison.
That makes the author the ideal choice for WordFest.
In its fifth year, the student-run literary festival is an opportunity for local fans and aspiring authors to connect with distinguished contemporary writers like Jamison and Lipsyte, another New York Times best-seller, whom the publication has called “the novelist of his generation.” Saito is a up-and-coming poet (and Fresno native) whose first book was a finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award.
These kind of authors don’t come through the area often, if ever, Eckrich says.
At WordFest you get to hear their work and interact with them in meaningful and hopefully inspiring ways, Eckrich says. The writers will each present a two-hour craft talk during the day. The event culminates in a group reading and book signing.
“It’s got a very intimate feeling,” Eckrich says. “You feel like you are making a connection with the writer.”
The craft talks will be held inside the Henry Madden Library. Saito will present at 10 a.m., followed by Lipsyte at 1 p.m. and Jamison at 3 p.m. Seating is limited. Those interested in attending should email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.