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Russell Banks to Give Public Presentation Oct. 31

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Noted author and Adirondack resident Russell Banks has joined the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh history faculty to teach a one-credit course this semester.

Russell Banks Banks, who was awarded a SUNY Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at Plattsburgh State in 1999, is teaching the class, "Adirondack Bohemia." The course delves into the myriad of artists and intellectuals who have worked and played in the AuSable River Valley of the Adirondacks for the past 150 years. Among the most notable are Sigmund Freud, William and Henry James, virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and famed artist, activist and SUNY Plattsburgh benefactor Rockwell Kent.

The public will have the chance to hear Banks discuss "Adirondack Bohemia" and his works at a public lecture Monday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium in Hawkins Hall, part of the Presidents' Speakers Series at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Banks, author of such books as The Sweet Hereafter , The Darling , The Angel on the Roof and Affliction , is also among the list of Adirondack luminaries, spending much of his time in his home in Keene Valley.

His novel, Rule of the Bone , is set in AuSable. The Sweet Hereafter takes place in a fictional town near Lake Placid. And Cloudsplitter takes place in North Elba, N.Y., and tells the story of martyred anti-slavery activist John Brown, who is buried there.

His novels The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction have been adapted for feature-length films; Affliction earned an Oscar for best-supporting actor James Coburn. His forthcoming film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road will be directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Francis Ford Coppola.
As instructor of "Adirondack Bohemia," the Pulitzer Prize nominee will work with a class of 10-12 students on a research project about a notable figure in the cultural and artistic history of the AuSable Valley.

This is a unique opportunity for SUNY Plattsburgh's students, as Banks is among the most accomplished American writers of our day. His 15 books have earned two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, an American Book Award and many other prizes.

His books have also been translated into at least a dozen languages, including Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, Hebrew, French and Turkish.

Banks is also an experienced university teacher and is the Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Princeton University.

According to Dr. James Rice, associate professor of history, classes will venture to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake and to various studios of Banks' artist and writer friends in the Keene Valley area.
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