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Fiction: Alan Lightman & Clay McLeod Chapman

14 April 1905, a chapter from Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman, read by stage, TV and film actor Lisa Bostnar and Party Favors, by Clay McLeod Chapman, read by Patricia Randell, familiar to our listeners from many New River programs.

Alan Lightman is the author of Einstein’s Dreams, an international bestseller which has been translated into thirty languages and taught in numerous colleges and universities. Lightman's novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction and has been adopted by high school teachers of Advanced Placement English. In 2007 he released his most recent novel, Ghost, an examination of the dichotomies of the physical world and the spiritual world, scepticism and faith, the natural and the supernatural, and science and religion. In 2009, Lightman published his first volume of poetry, a book-length narrative in verse titled Song of Two Worlds. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, winner of the 2003 Distinguished Arts and Humanities Medal for Literature, and garnered many other honors, including having twice been a juror for the Pulitzer Prize. In his scientific work, Lightman has made fundamental contributions to the theory of astrophysical processes under extreme temperatures and densities. In 1990 he chaired the science panel of the National Academy of Sciences Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee. He is a past chair of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society.In 1999, Lightman founded the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia and the developing world, specifically through housing, education, and leadership training.

Lisa Bostnar, who was thrilled for the opportunity to read aloud Mr. Lightman's words and to work with Mr. Ribalow, has starred in many critically acclaimed shows on the New York stage. Some favorites include Arthur Schnitzler's Far and Wide and The Lonely Way; also The Voysey Inheritance, The House of Mirth, and The Madras House. Lisa has also guest starred in many Law & Order episodes, as well as some wonderful indie films, including The Sensation of Sight starring David Strathairn.

Clay McLeod Chapman is the author of rest area, a collection of short stories, and miss corpus, a novel. Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Jitterbug Perfume, said of Chapman’s work, “Like a demonic angel on a skateboard, like a resurrected Artaud on methadrine, like a tattletale psychiatrist turned rodeo clown, Clay McLeod Chapman races back and forth along the serrated edges of everyday American madness, objectively recording each whimper of anguish, each whisper of skewed desire.” In The Village Voice, Alexis Soloski wrote "If Clay McLeod Chapman keeps up with the oddball characters, well-crafted stories, and critical plaudits, that Faulkner guy better watch out.”

Patricia Randell plays the role of FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair in the 2011 HBO film Too Big to Fail, directed by Oscar Winner Curtis Hanson and starring a cast of luminaries including Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, William Hurt, Cynthia Nixon, Ed Asner and many others. She has garnered five raves in The New York Times for her portrayals of characters as diverse as the gregarious lesbian in Christopher Durang's wild parody of The Glass Menagerie to her portrayal of Greer Garson in Random Harvest, a performance singled out for praise by all 16 critical forums in NY that covered it. Ms. Randell’s Off-Broadway credits are numerous and varied, and regionally she has appeared at many of the top theatres across the country. Her film work includes features Islander with Philip Baker Hall and Approaching Union Square, which debuted on The Sundance Channel in 2008. On TV she has appeared on many soaps, the original Law & Order and a sitcom pilot, The Match. A member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, she has been a teaching artist at Brooklyn College, EST, The William Inge Center, and privately coaches professional actors as well as students who have subsequently been accepted into Juilliard, BU, and other major theater programs.


New River Dramatists


A program of stories, plays, and poetry co-produced with New River Dramatists.

New River Dramatists, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, is a not-for-profit project that distinguishes itself in that it is looking for writers to assist, not works to produce. Engaging writers on the strength of their individual talents instead of the potential merit of a single piece, payment of Honoraria to all participants, the absence of casting and the commitment to process first are among many factors that, taken all together, make New River Dramatists unique.