The Library’s 2019 Summer Concert Series Offers a Diversity of Styles and Introduces New Performers

Cellist Peter Stumpf.

The Friends of the Academy Library is pleased to announce the dates for its 2019 Summer Concert Series, which will be held on four consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning on July 10th. With the exception of the final concert on July 31st, all performances will take place in the Library’s Rockefeller Hall beginning at 7:00 pm, and they are free and open to the public.

Our series will open on July 10th with a first-time performance by Peter Stumpf, professor of cello at Indiana University and formerly the principal cellist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in concert with pianist Heng-Jin Park. The duo will present a program including works by Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, and Felix Mendelssohn. The series continues on July 17th with a longstanding tradition: an evening of small-group jazz. This year’s concert will feature a special guest, vocalist Sharon Jones, who will be accompanied by a rhythm section including current and former PEA music faculty members Charlie Jennison, Ryan Parker, Keala Kaumeheiwa and Les Harris, Jr. On July 24th, guitarist, singer, songwriter and PEA music faculty member Eric Sinclair will present a family-friendly performance featuring originals and familiar favorites. This concert will offer plenty of opportunities for audience participation, and children of all ages are welcome! The series will close on July 31st, when the Friends of the Academy Library will present pianists and PEA music faculty members Jon Sakata and Jung Mi Lee in a collaborative recital with their former student, Le-Minh Ho (PEA Class of 2000). Their program will include a diversity of styles spanning from the classical to the modern eras, and will feature both solo and four-hand piano works. Please note that this concert will be held in the Bowld Recital Hall, located in the Forrestal-Bowld Music Center on Tan Lane, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Vocalist Sharon Jones.

Inquiries about the Library’s Summer Concert Series may be directed to Drew Gatto by phone at (603)777-3308, or by email at For a printable color image of the Library Summer Concert Series flyer, click here. Please join us in the Library and the Forrestal- Bowld Music Center this summer for a diverse program of music for all ages, presented in air-conditioned comfort!

Bennett Fellow Gwen Kirby

Please join us on Tuesday May 7th at 7:00 pm for a reading by Gwen Kirby, 2018-2019 George Bennett Fellow. Gwen Kirby’s stories appear or are forthcoming in One Story, Tin House online, Guernica, Mississippi ReviewNinth LetterBlackbirdSmokeLong Quarterly, among others. Her story “Shit Cassandra Saw . . .” was selected for Best Small Fictions 2018 and it also appears in the 2018 Wigleaf Top 50. Kirby’s story “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” won the 2017 DISQUIET Literary Prize for Fiction. She has received two Pushcart Prize special mentions and has been awarded scholarships to the Rivendell Writers’ Colony and the Sundress Academy for the Arts.

Kirby has taught at Johns Hopkins University and was an instructor at the University of Cincinnati for five years, leading courses in English composition, fiction, poetry and more. She joined the fiction faculty at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference in summer 2017.

The George Bennett Fellowship celebrates its 51st anniversary this year. Established by Elias B.M. Kulukundis ’55 in honor of PEA English Instructor George Bennett, the one-year fellowship has provided writers “of outstanding promise” with the support they need to pursue their craft.

The reading will be held in The Class of 1945 Library’s Rockefeller Hall and is free and open to the public.

Lamont Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Photo credit: Djeneba Aduayom

On Wednesday April 17th, Phillips Exeter Academy concludes its 2018–2019 Lamont Poetry Series with a reading by award-winning poet, educator, memoirist, scholar, and cultural advocate Elizabeth Alexander.

Alexander is author or co-author of fourteen books, most recently a memoir, The Light of the World, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. In 2009 she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Among Alexander’s many works include the books Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010American Sublime (2005), The Venus Hottentot (1990); plus numerous essays, poems and fiction published in journals and anthologies.

Currently the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Elizabeth Alexander has held distinguished professorships at Columbia University and Yale University. In addition, she served as the Founding Director of The Poetry Center and the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence at Smith College, and a founding faculty member of the Cave Canem Poetry Workshop. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, serves on the Pulitzer Prize Board and the Advisory Board of the African Poetry Book Foundation, and co-designed the Art for Justice Fund.

The reading will be held at 7:30 pm in the Assembly Hall, located on the second floor of the Academy Building on Front Street. The event is free and open to the public.

Reading by Willie Perdomo

Members of the Phillips Exeter Academy community are invited to join us for a reading by Willie Perdomo, Instructor in English, in celebration of his new book The Crazy Bunch. The reading will take place on Tuesday April 9th from 7:00 – 8:00 pm in the Library Commons.

Perdomo is author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award (Poetry) finalist and International Latino Book Award winner; Smoking Lovely (2004), winner of the PEN/Open Book Award; and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award.  Perdomo is also the author of two children’s books Clemente! (2010), winner of the Americas Award for children’s and young adult literature, and Visiting Langston (2005), a Coretta Scott honor book.

Perdomo has received fellowships from Columbia University, Lucas Artists Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, The Yale Review, The Common, Bomb, and African Voices.

“Whether we’re talking Puerto Rico or the US, the Poetry Society of America or the corner of 123rd Street and Lexington Avenue, there is no poet alive who can match the lyrical intelligence, ferocious wit and searching humanity of Willie Perdomo. Perdomo is the hurricane we all write home about.” — Junot Díaz, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.


New Magazine Archives: The Atlantic, Time, and U.S. News & World Report

Three online magazine archives, The Atlantic Magazine Archive (1857-2014), Time Magazine Archive (1923-2000), and U.S. News & World Report (1926-1984) are the most recent additions to the Class of 1945 Library’s E-Resources.

The Atlantic Magazine Archive, 1857-2014, “includes more than 1,800 issues providing a broad view of 19th, 20th and early 21st-Century American thought. The magazine was originally created with a focus on publishing leading writers’ commentary on abolition, education and other major issues in contemporary political affairs at the time. .. Some of the founding sponsors of the magazine included prominent writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Greenleaf Whittier.”

The Time Magazine Archive provides coverage to more than 4,000 issues, from the first in March 1923 through December 2000.  The magazine “has focused on conveying to a broad audience both domestic and international news and analysis on a spectrum of subjects…Capturing the relevant news for a given week, the magazine remains an important resource for researchers studying just about any aspect of 20th-Century history and life.”

U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive is unique in that it covers the magazine from the beginning of its three predecessor titles. The magazine features a broad variety of topics in current events, politics and business, and is well known for its ranked lists of businesses and institutions….U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive is valuable to researchers of 20th century current events, politics and business, as well as those interested in the history of journalism, advertising, and popular culture.”

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen will visit the Phillips Exeter Academy campus on Tuesday January 22nd and Wednesday January 23rd.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer (2015) won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, while Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and Memory of War (2016), was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. Nguyen is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (2002). His most recent work of fiction The Refugees (2017), a short story collection, was named a 2017 New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Best Book of the Year by NPR. Nguyen is also the editor of Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (2018).

In addition to speaking during the Tuesday morning Assembly, the Academy will host “An Evening with Viet Thanh Nguyen” as part of the Department of English Haley Lecture and the Exeter We the People Lecture Series. The Tuesday evening event will begin at 7pm in Phillip Exeter Academy’s Assembly Hall and is free and open to the public.

On Wednesday January 23rd the Library will host a special Q&A with Nguyen for students in the Library Commons. This student event is organized by Wei-Ling Woo, Asian Student Program Coordinator.

A display of some of Nguyen’s works can be found in the Library’s Rockfeller Hall.