A new novella by National Book Award-winner Andrea Barrett is one of many treats awaiting readers in the just-published Spring/Summer issue of Salmagundi.

SalmagundiBarrett’s The Island focuses on a friendship between two very different young women during an 1873 expedition to study sea-life in Buzzards Bay under the tutelage of their anti-Darwinian mentor. Like an earlier work published by Barrett in Salmagundi, Servants of the Map (which won a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2003), The Island draws upon Barrett’s life-long interest in science and the history of science for its inspiration.

Many in the Skidmore community will remember Barrett from her several visits to campus, where she has delivered public readings, visited classes, and taught in The New York State Summer Writers Institute.

Designed by Marc Woodworth, associate editor of Salmagundi, the cover was chosen for its connection to Barrett’s work. It’s an enlargement of a lithograph found in an 1860 book published by 19th century naturalist Louis Agassiz, a Harvard professor who is best remembered for proposing the idea of an ice age and for his life-long resistance to Darwin’s theories on evolution.

Other highlights of the issue include:

  • A strange, even haunting, email correspondence between Nobel prize winning writer J.M.Coetzee (Disgrace, Waiting for the Barbarians, Slow Man) and psychologist Arabella Kurtz. The 29 letters cover a rich array of topics, ranging from the psychological to the philosophical to the literary and “the personal.”;
  • An article on “What’s Happening in the New Europe?” by German novelist and cultural commentator Peter Schneider, a frequent contributor of political columns to Salmagundi;
  • Poems by recent United States Poet Laureate Charles Simic and Pulitzer prize winner Carl Dennis;
  • An essay by recent Steloff lecturer and summer Writers Institute faculty member, Alan Gurganus,  celebrating the arrival of “A New Writer”;
  • An essay—at once serious and playful– on “Celebrity Sex Scandals” by Daniel Harris, who lectured on campus early in April of this year.