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Reading and lecture by award-winning novelist Samuel Delany, October 29, 2009.


POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-Samuel R. Delany, award-winning novelist, critic, and professor of creative writing at Temple University, will give a public reading and lecture about his forthcoming novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, on Thursday, October 29, at Vassar College. The program, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:00pm in the Villard Room on the second floor of the College Center in Vassar's historic Main Building. There will be a question-and-answer session after the reading.

Described by the New York Times as "a writer of consistently high ambition and achievement," Samuel R. Delany has written science fiction, memoir, and literary critique and is the recipient of four Nebula Awards, two Hugo Awards, and the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a Lifetime Achievement in Lesbian and Gay Writing.

His forthcoming novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders has been described as a companion novel to his most recently published work, Dark Reflections, the winner of the Stonewall Book Award. Yet Dark Reflections and Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders are also thematically oppositional-while Dark Reflections examines themes of loneliness, sexual repression and the life of an artist, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders focuses on companionship, sexual freedom, and the satisfaction that life can bring. Both Dark Reflections and Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders feature love, relationships and the consequences of choices made in life as major themes.

Set in Atlanta, Georgia, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is a story about Eric, who is soon to turn 17, and the journey he will take from youth to old age with his companion, Morgan. The novel begins in 2007 then leaps ahead in time to Eric's twilight years and back. This is a much expanded version of Delany's novella, In the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, which first appeared in Issue 7 of the Black Clock magazine, a literary journal published semi-annually by the California Association of the Arts.

Unlike many of Delany's other fiction works, such as his Nebula award-winning Babel-17, Nova, Trouble on Triton, and Empire Star, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is not a science fiction novel. Delany stated in a recent interview with "i09," an online science-fiction fansite, that Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is ultimately a "character-driven story" about a long-term gay relationship.

The event is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Faculty; the Science, Technology and Society and Africana Studies Programs; English Department; and the Campus Life Office/LGBTQ Center.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar Campus are available online at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, October 20, 2009