Andre Dubus III
Fiction writers are sometimes well-served by lives of odd-job shenanigans and round-about routes, and the literary rise of Andre Dubus III was certainly not made via any academic fast-track. First, he took a year off from a PhD program, in which he was studying Marxist social science, to work construction and train for the Golden Gloves. Later, he took jobs as a bounty hunter/private investigator, carpenter, bartender, actor, and treatment center counselor, jobs that were both people-oriented and confined to the evening hours.
After years of morning writing sessions, he’s now a renowned author of fiction, including the movie-inspiring novel The House of Sand and Fog, and on Monday night, you can encounter both his writing and the influences behind it. “An Evening with Andre Dubus III,” scheduled for the Portland Stage Company main stage on Monday, April 2, at 7 pm, will stage dramatic readings of Dubus’s work, followed by the author’s reflections about the other artists who have moved him.
Considering his empathies with the common man, it’s no surprise that those influences include such popular artists as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. In fact, he has called writing “a sustained act of empathy,” and his interest in people has led to rich, sometimes ambivalent literary characters. In addition to The House of Sand and Fog, which recently graced the silver screen with Jennifer Connolly and Ben Kingsley in the highly ambivalent starring roles, his books include The Cage Keeper and Other Stories and Bluesman.
The event that will dramatize Dubus’s work on Monday is part of a series that began in 2002, when a gang of local actors known as “The Usual Suspects” gathered at Longfellow Books for a series of Valentine’s Day dramatic readings of classic and contemporary fiction. Since then, the series has continued and expanded, and its founders eventually hit on the idea of combining the readings with live author events. In 2003, Longfellow’s Shorts events found a permanent home on the PSC main stage, and became occasions for audiences to enjoy both the dramatization of the printed word and the background that the author brought to them.
The work of this week’s guest author has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and the 1985 National Magazine Award for Fiction. It has also been cited in The One Hundred Most Distinguished Stories of 1993 and The Best American Short Stories of 1994. One of three finalists for the 1994 Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction. The son of esteemed short fiction writer Andre Dubus, he teaches writing at Emerson and Tufts.
During Monday’s event, the Affiliate Artists will read from a selection of his published and soon-to-be-published works. Local actors involved in the reading will include Moira Driscoll, Mark Honan, Daniel Noel, Michael Rafkin, and Michele Livermore Wigton. Dan Burson will direct. These thespians will join forces to voice the work of Dubus, and then will step back to let us hear the well-traveled voice behind them.
An Evening with Andre Dubus III | a Longfellow’s Shorts Author Event | Presented by the Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artists | PSC Main stage, Portland | April 2, 7 pm | 207.774.0465
Email the author