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Alumna Melissa Bank named 2009 visiting writer at Cornell

Best-selling author Melissa Bank, MFA '98, will be a visiting writer at Cornell in spring 2009. Bank's appointment was announced by Molly Hite, professor and chair of the Department of English. Bank will teach seminars to undergraduates and graduate students in English and creative writing and will give a public reading.

Bank received her MFA in fiction at Cornell and went on to publish "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing" (Viking, 1999), which became a New York Times best-seller. Seven interrelated stories followed Bank's protagonist Jane Rosenthal from age 14 to adulthood, through the trials of careers, family and relationships. One of the stories was published in Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope literary magazine, and Coppola is adapting the collection to the screen, according to Salon.com.

Bank also won the 1993 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction and has published her stories in several literary magazines. In her novel "The Wonder Spot" (Viking, 2005), Bank "joined comic and tragic aspects of one woman's life in a way that is at once laugh-out-loud funny and deeply poignant," a Seattle Times reviewer wrote.

The Visiting Writer position is made possible by two anonymous alumni donors. In an e-mail to English faculty and graduate students, Hite thanked the spring 2008 visiting writers at Cornell -- Mark Doty, Denis Johnson and Paul Lisicky -- "for being with us this term as part of our intellectual and creative community."

"We won't soon forget their readings, which opened our reading series for the semester," Hite said. "I imagine also that the scores of students who took classes with them will look back at those experiences as major highlights of their college careers."

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