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Inspired Writers Series

Hosted by MFA Program's Phil Klay

"The Art of Literary Criticism With Ryan Ruby and Becca Rothfeld"

At a recent lecture in Norway, the novelist and critic Ryan Ruby, recipient of the 2023 Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism, declared that we are living in a golden age in which criticism “is being practiced and received as an artform in its own right.” But what makes criticism its own artform, and how to do it well? Two of the best working critics, Ryan Ruby and Becca Rothfeld, the non-fiction book critic at The Washington Post, will be joined by Fairfield professor and National Book Award-winning author Phil Klay to discuss their own approaches to criticism, what sets great work apart, and how they develop their own work.

Ryan Ruby is the author of The Zero and the One: A Novel (Twelve Books, 2017). For his literary criticism, which has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times, Poetry, New Left Review, and other venues, he received the 2023 Robert B. Silvers Prize. He lives in Berlin.

Becca Rothfeld is the nonfiction book critic at The Washington Post and a contributing editor at The Point. She has written essays and reviews for The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and more. Her debut essay collection is forthcoming from Holt.

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