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Reading List from “Writers Reading during the Pandemic: A Panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Edmund White, and Sheila Kohler”

On Thursday 29 October, we hosted a wonderful panel of acclaimed authors to discuss reading. Diane Stamm generously developed this list for us following the event, and we thought it might be useful to some of you.

To watch (or rewatch!) the panel, please visit

Here’s what Diane highlighted for us, and for you, to peruse in conjunction with the event.

What the authors are reading, mentioning, and watching:

Joyce Carol Oates (latest book Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars)


“…Ulysses was the novel that I was not allowed even to look at at the public library… and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to read something like that.”

“I could happily not watch any news ever, ever again.”

Fly, Already by Etgar Keret

Pushcart Prize XLV – Best of the Small Presses

The Complete Stories of Lenora by Carrington

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore

Unquiet by Linn Ullmann

War and Peace by Tolstoy

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

Also mentioned:

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll


Psychology Today magazine

Edmund White (latest book A Saint from Texas)


“The farthest place from France is Texas.”

“I’m known as the gay writer, so I always get all the gay things [to review].”

“I watch the news obsessively on television.”

A Voice Through the Clouds by Denton Welch

Diary of a Foreigner in Paris by Malaparte

Giuseppe Gullo

In Youth’s Pleasure by Denton Welch

Malaparte by Maurizio Serra

Memoirs of Elisabeth de Gramont 

Oscar Wilde’s Italian Dream 1875–1900 by Renato Miracco

Raul Burbank, MD

The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Human Factor by Graham Greene

The Orchard (Poems) by Bright Pegeen Kelly

The Prophet by Robert Jones, Jr.

Late night TV: “Classic Arts Showcase” 

Also mentioned:

Loving; Doting; and Nothing by Henry Green

Anatole France

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sheila Kohler (latest book Open Secrets)


“How to create suspense: put a vulnerable person in a dangerous position.”

“We do get the New York Times and I go down the lane and pick it up from the ground and that’s like the big high of the day…We don’t actually have a television here.”

Don Quixote by Cervantes

“Grisha,” a short story by Chekov

Madame Bovary by Flaubert

Ulysses by James Joyce

(“Reading Chekhov was just like the angels singing to me.” – Eudora Welty, 1977)

Movie: “The Innocents” directed by Erik Anderson (based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw; much of the script was written by Truman Capote)

Also mentioned:

Brontë sisters


George Eliot

Jane Austen

Jane Eyre

Marguerite Duras

Sheila Kohler: Becoming Jane Eyre

New term learned from Catherine Olien (Programs Manager and panel moderator): doomscrolling

Doomscrolling (or doomsurfing): the act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news ( 

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