Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

“My Father is a Book,” Janna Malamud Smith

Visiting Writers Series, Oregon State University

November 9, 2007


Janna Malamud Smith
Janna Malamud Smith

“My Father is a Book,” a reading from the Threepenny Review essay.  Watch Video

Following her introduction by OSU English professor Dr. Tracy Daugherty, Malamud Smith reads from her 2003 essay "My Father is a Book," originally published in The Threepenny Review. In the piece, Malamud Smith reflects upon various aspects of her father's habits and personality, paying particular attention to the importance of Jewishness to both Bernard Malamud the man and the writer. Malamud Smith likewise discusses the ambivalent feelings that sometimes arose throughout her youth and adolescence - as is often the case with major figures, the creativity, intellect and devotion to craft that fueled Bernard Malamud's success as a novelist were, on the same token, occasional sources of strain to other members of his household.

Janna Malamud Smith
Janna Malamud Smith

“My Father is a Book,” a reading from the memoir.  Watch Video

In reading a selection from her 2006 memoir My Father is a Book, Malamud Smith shares a few memories of her family's experiences in Corvallis, Oregon. While a very long way - both physically and culturally - from the East Coast bustle that he had always known, Oregon State College provided Bernard Malamud with a quiet and generally-comfortable space in which he produced many of his most famous works. The Willamette Valley also proved to be a charming location to raise a family, a theme upon which Malamud Smith reflects in recounting a number of details of her youth and home life in the quaint college town. Among the memories shared are those of the family's purchase of their first home, their harvesting walnuts from the back yard, her father's dutiful engagement with yardwork and his enthusiasm in cheering on the Beavers basketball team.

Following this second reading, Malamud Smith answers questions from the audience, many of which delve even further into the Malamud family's experience of and impact upon 1950s Corvallis.

Related Names: Bernard Malamud