For a while there, Dale Peck was nobody's friend. In 2002, he opened his review of Rick Moody's The Black Veil in The New Republic with this charmer: "Rick Moody is the worst writer of his generation." Then he spent the next two paragraphs detailing why that sentence was such a fine starting point, even providing early drafts ("The Black Veil is the worst of Rick Moody's very bad books," and so forth). But Peck is no mere critic: Years before he became a hatchet man (his collected criticisms can be found in the book Hatchet Jobs), he was praised for his coming-of-age novel Martin and John, and the phrase "prominent gay author" was bandied about. A few more well-regarded novels followed, then his foray into ripping apart his peers, but finally Peck turned a corner by writing a kids book, 2005's Drift House: The First Voyage, a fantasy about two children who go off to live on a "transtemporal vessel" and wind up adrift on the Sea of Time. Tonight, however, we get Peck the instructor. He speaks on the creation of character identities in fiction in "Now It's Time to Say Shalom."
Thu., April 27, 7:30 p.m.