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WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN in conversation with Karl Taro Greenfeld: Why Are You Poor?

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March 7, 2007

Program Locations:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lectures* & LIVE from the NYPL present:

Karl Taro Greenfeld will journey with William T. Vollmann together exploring the travels Vollman took with curiosity and compassion, through six continents, always posing the seemingly simple question, ?Why are you poor?? to the indigent, destitute, and deprived people he meets. The answers he gets are as diverse as the people themselves, revealing cultural, religious, and philosophical differences, but also certain universal truths. As he explores the fundamental humanity that binds rich and poor together, Vollmann encounters resentment, acceptance, blame, fatalism, and even gratitude among the impoverished peoples of the world.

In his new book, Poor People, with over a hundred black-and-white photographs taken by Vollmann himself, he attempts to see poverty in a new way, not burdened by preconceptions, assumptions, or prejudices.

This event is co-presented by the National Book Awards

About William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann is the author of seven novels and three collections of stories, as well as a number of nonfiction works. In 2005 he received the National Book Award for his novel, Europe Central which follows a wide range of characters caught up in the fighting between Germany and the Soviet Union. His seven-volume study of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes contains stories of people on the margins of war, poverty and hope. He has won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writers Award, and the Commonwealth Club of California's Silver Medal for Notable Contribution to Publishing. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Spin, and Granta. In his new book, Poor People, Vollmann explores an inescapable and timeless social phenomenon ? poverty.

About Karl Taro Greenfeld

Karl Taro Greenfeld is the Editor-at-Large of Sports Illustrated and the author of three books, Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan's Next Generation; China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century's First Great Epidemic; Standard Deviations: Growing Up and Coming Down in the New Asia. His non-fiction and fiction have appeared in various publications including TIME, Sports Illustrated, The Nation and The Paris Review and have been anthologized in the Best American Nonrequired Reading. As the editor of TIME Asia, he worked with William T. Vollmann.

*These annual lectures made possible by an endowed fund established by the friends and associates of the late Richard B. Salomon.