Writing Division Adds 3 Authors to Its Faculty

Photograph: Writing Division Chairman Stephen Koch, foreground, with, from left, new faculty Lucille Clifton, Michael Scammell and Magda Bogin. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.

The writing division of the School of the Arts has added three noted authors to its faculty. They were welcomed at a luncheon Nov. 15 at Faculty House.

Michael Scammell, a nonfiction writer and translator, Lucille Clifton, a poet and writer of children's books, and Magda Bogin, a novelist and translator, have joined the division's faculty as professors of writing.

"We are strengthening and deepening the commitment that our faculty bring to their teaching and writing," said Stephen Koch, chairman of the writing division. "One way we are doing this is by appointing people with distinguished careers as writers and teachers and offering them significant new positions on the regular faculty. We are particularly strengthening our offerings in literary nonfiction and literary translation."

Scammell received his B.A. from the University of Nottingham in 1958 and his Ph.D. in Slavic studies from Columbia in 1985.

He is the author of Cosmic Reporter: A Life of Arthur Koestler and Solzhenitsyn: A Biography, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best biography.

"Scammell is an astounding phenomenon," said Koch. "He is a tremendously accomplished linguist and translator. In addition, he is certainly one of the major literary biographers now at work anywhere."

Scammell is the editor of The Solzhenitsyn File, Unofficial Art from the Soviet Union, and Russia's Other Writers.

He has translated many works from Russian, including Nabokov's The Defense and The Gift and Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment.

Scammell has taught writing and translation at Harvard and Hunter College, and he was the chairman of the department of Russian literature at Cornell.

He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Ford Foundation. He is vice president of International PEN.

Clifton is a former Poet Laureate of Maryland. In 1989, her book of poems, Quilting, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

"She's one of the most distinguished poets in the United States. Her range is extraordinary," said Koch.

"The qualities of experience that she will bring to teaching we will likely find in no one else."

Clifton has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including two from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and the Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review.

She is the author of numerous children's books and books of poetry, including The Book of Light, Next, Two Headed Woman and Good News About the Earth. She has been the Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland from 1991 to the present.

Bogin received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence in 1972 and her M.A. from City College in 1984.

She is the author of the novel Natalya, God's Messenger and the critical study The Women Troubadours. She is the translator of Isabel Allende's House of Spirits, Elvira Orphee's El Angel's Last Conquest, and Dominque St. Alban's Deja Vu, among other works.

"Bogin comes to us as a novelist and translator who has created from almost nothing a rich and exciting program in translation at City College," said Koch. "We will use her considerable skills in the same way here."

Bogin has taught creative writing and translation at City College, Princeton, the University of Massachusetts and the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y.

She has been the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

Columbia University Record -- December 2, 1994 -- Vol. 20, No. 11