Shapiro Writing Center Launches Podcast

Mike MavredakisJanuary 31, 20244min
1200x660 Shapiro

The Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism launched a podcast in partnership with the New York Review of Books and Literary Hub called “The Critic and Her Publics.” The podcast gives the public access to a series of talks between Merve Emre, Shapiro-Silverberg University Professor of Creative Writing and Criticism and director of the Shapiro Writing Center, and a lineup of writers from major publications.

New episodes debut every Tuesday, starting Jan. 30, with guest Andrea Long Chu. Six episodes were recorded in the fall and six more will be recorded this semester as the Shapiro Center continues its speaker series, which shares the same name as the podcast.

“I think the point of the podcast is that we can bring what we are doing to anybody who has internet access, an internal speaker, computer, or phone,” Emre said.

This semester, Moira Donegan, columnist for The Guardian; Jo Livingstone, critic for The Stopgap; Lauren Michele Jackson, contributing writer for The New Yorker; Doreen St. Felix, staff writer for The New Yorker; Maggie Doherty, author and teacher; and Christine Smallwood, author and professor, will each appear in conversations at McKelvey Room in the Admissions building to explore what doing criticism is like and how they approach it.

“These are the best and the most prolific critics at work today,” Emre said. “Wesleyan students are tremendously lucky that we have the ability to bring them to campus, but I think everyone should have the ability to hear these people put their brilliant minds to work.”

Alongside the launch of the podcast, the Shapiro Center has a packed programming schedule on deck for the Spring semester aimed at improving access to the world of criticism—both for Wesleyan students and the public. The Center will host a masterclass with graphic novelist Gareth Hinds on adapting classical literature into the graphic form. Hinds created the New York Times bestselling graphic novel The Odyssey and several other well-known historical texts. Last semester, actor Edoardo Ballerini ’92 held a masterclass on audio book narration. Three alumni, Alexander Levy ’08, Nicholas During ’06, and Gabrielle Burney ’14, will make appearances at Ask Me Anything lunches, as they will engage with students, faculty, and staff throughout the semester.

Emre said she wants the Shapiro Center to serve as an “important center for criticism in the world, not just at Wesleyan, not just on the east coast, as much as even in the US.” Building a thriving community within and around the center is crucial to achieving that, something Emre said has progressed well in her time at the Center.

“I was incredibly heartened by just our sheer attendance numbers at these events, but I also have been very encouraged by the fact that we see the same students over and over again, they start bringing their friends,” Emre said.