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Great writers, great readings: Martha McPhee

By Aaron Calvin, Assistant Entertainment Editor

On Wednesday morning, Martha McPhee became the first professor at Hofstra University to be featured in the "Great Writers, Great Readings" program. She read selections from her most recent novel, Dear Money. In the book, she chronicles the ascent of India, a writer struggling in New York City, into the world of Wall Street.

McPhee is recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts Grant as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is the author of three former novels and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

The novel addresses themes relative to our current environment, showing how a world where mass amounts of money are waiting to be made can be incredibly seductive. While being contemporary of the fiscal crisis, the book makes a point of being more about abstract personal issues than any one incident.

McPhee read two excerpts from her book, the first concerning a creative writing prompt her character was assigned in high school. She read this specifically for her students, a passage that reflected a sense of precision and detail, as well as the power of fiction. The second passage focused on a fact-based Wall Street burger-eating contest, a scene that encapsulated many of the themes of her book.

The "Great Writers, Great Readings" series will continue with playwright Christopher Durang. It will be the final reading of the semester on April 6th at 11:15 a.m. in the Guthart Cultural Center Theater.

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