Writer-in-residence exploring questions of love, identity

New College’s current writer-in-residence, novelist Sarah Gerard, is bringing her skills and creativity to New College this year to teach and host a series of public readings and book signings in Sarasota.

Her 2015 novel, “Binary Star,” was a Los Angeles Times Book Prizes finalist and named one of the Best Books of 2015 by NPR and Vanity Fair. Her 2017 work, “Sunshine State: Essays,” was one of The New York Times Critics’ Best Books of the Year.

The first event, set for Oct. 30 at Bookstore 1 in downtown Sarasota, is themed “All About Love,” featuring readings by poet and University of Tampa professor Geoff Bouvier. Gerard’s New College students will also be reading their work at the event.

Gerard says the topic of love comes from one of her fall courses, “Anti-Love Stories.” The class asks the questions,”What is love and what is it’s nature, and how do you write about it?” she said.

She’s also teaching a writing workshop called “Identity in the 21st Century America” The New College course catalog says the workshop “examines the ever-shifting, all-encompassing, yet exclusive American identity, and the lived experiences of Americans today.” Students will again be reading their own work Nov. 8, when novelist Patty Yumi Cottrell will be headlining a bonfire reading at Brant’s Used Books, in Sarasota.

Gerard says her students are up to the challenge. New College students are “more mature, more aware,” that other college students she’s taught. “New College students are also more politically and socially driven. They’re each so individual, I have to work harder to keep up with them.”

Public events scheduled this fall:

All About Love: An Evening with Geoff Bouvier and New College creative writing students
Oct. 30, 5 p.m., at Bookstore 1 Sarasota, 12 South Palm Ave., Sarasota 34236

The poet Geoff Bouvier will be headlining a reading by New College students. The theme of the reading is love. This event grows out of Gerard’s “Anti-Love Stories” class and will be organized by its students. Bouvier is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa. Learn more here.

Marriage of a Thousand Lies: Reading and Signing by SJ Sindu
Nov. 5, 2018, 6 p.m., in the College Hall Music Room

Novelist SJ Sindu will be reading and signing books. Sindu’s novel “Marriage of a Thousand Lies” won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was named an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Learn more here.

Bonfire Reading with Patty Yumi Cottrell and New College creative writing students
Nov. 8, 7 p.m., at Brant’s Books, 429 N Lime Ave, Sarasota 34237

Novelist Patty Yumi Cottrell will be headlining a bonfire reading by New College students at Brant’s Used Books, in Sarasota. This is a reading of political works, and grows out of this fall’s “Identity in the 21st Century” writing workshop. It is organized by that workshop’s students. Learn more here.

The Blurry Years: Reading and Signing by author Eleanor Kriseman
Nov. 14, 2018, 6 p.m., in the College Hall Music Room

Novelist Eleanor Kriseman will be reading and signing books in the College Hall Music Room. Kriseman is a Tampa native and “The Blurry Years,” set in Florida, is her first book. She’s now a social worker in New York City. Learn more here.

Learn more about Sarah Gerard here.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre bay front campus is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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