14th Annual Literary Festival
Lit Fest Home

Mace & Crown
Volume 31 Number 4, Thursday October 03, 1991

National figures to visit ODU
This year's Literary Festival combines fact and fiction from home and away


By, Brenda Wasson
Mace & Crown
Staff Writer


collection of poetry, fiction and newspaper accounts. Also from ODU are All Mapp, Jr. from the History Department and Liam Rector, director of the Associated Writing Programs which is headquartered at Old Dominion University. The predominance of local and familiar faces does not lessen the quality of the festival though. In fact, according to Pearson, it may do more to connect our personal realm with a larger reality."

The festival is open to the public. Students and faculty of all disciplines are

encouraged to attend the festival events. Non-English majors are sure to enjoy the events as much as English majors. 'Give it a chance." said Pearson.

He claims once a person goes to one event, he or she will want to go to more. He has on several occasions been approached by students who were required to go to the events for a class. He said the students were surprised by how much they enjoyed

the programs. Many of these same students who had to be forced to go in the first place, are now assisting him with this year's festival.

"If you are interested in words and language, you might just find something that touches your life:' he said.

Plus, the 14th Annual Literary Festival is an exciting change of pace from the typical college lecture circuit. It is not necessarily an exchange of political ideas, but "an exchange of emotional and philosophical" ones.

You probably will not hear too much about abortion, elections or any other hot topics on campus. The festival provides an opportunity for young, developing writers to listen to chose writers who have experienced success. It is also an opportunity for students from other disciplines to take part in the world of words and literature for a few hours.

Anyone who has liked a story or a poem during the course of his or her life will find something of interest at the festival, and J.M. Prince booksellers will be selling books by festival writers at every event.

The reigns switch hands after this year's events, and Michael Pearson will relinquish his position so Mary Lonano can become the new Literary Festival Director. Pearson said he hopes funds raised during W.P. Kinsella's benefit reading will leave a base budget for Lonano to work from SO that the next Literary Festival can bring in some more distant writers. Kinsella's reading costs $3 per student.

Between Oct. 8 and 10 of this year Michael Pearson's dream will come alive. Share in this exploration of language which according to Pearson will "lead the audience between the lines of fact and fiction, allowing us to discover the places where history and the imagination intersect.

When attending any of the events held during the 14th Annual Literary Festival, you will experience the end product of nine months preparation on the behalf of festival coordinators and a lifetime of experience of the festival participants.

As this year's Festival Director, Michael Pearson, put it, you will be experiencing the "director's drearm" This year's topic: "Between the Lines: Fact and Fiction' stems from Pearson's personal interest in nonfiction, fiction and those writers who me 'straddling the boundary" between the two.

Pearson is a nonfiction writer by trade; however, he experiments with fictional styles in his writing. He says the Literary Festival was "done out of a love of creating [his] dreamscape."

His dream is to bring those writers who achieve that pernicious balance between fact and fiction together at one gathering.

The dream has come close to a reality, especially with the inclusion of WP Kirisella's benefit reading. Part of the reading will come from Kinsella's book, Shoeless Joe which crosses the boundaries constantly- The work is fiction, but the main character shares the surname of the author.

The plot is fictional, but J.D. Salinger, the real author of Catcher in the Rye, is kidnapped. Pearson is fascinated with this "twisting of fact and fiction, of reality and illusion:' and he shares it with us through his selection of Kinselia and the many other writers represented in the week's events.

Even this dream could not be totally complete.

Pearson claims his dream "slid unfortunately into reality, and the reality was Governor Wilder and the budget crunch." Like those of numerous other programs in higher education, the Literary Festival's budget was sliced almost in half.

For Pearson, that meant less opportunity to bring in outside writers. The result of the lower budget is that live of the writers are professors from Old Dominion University itself, Wayne Ude, Michael Pear-son and Bill Patrick come out of ODU's English Department.

Bill Patrick, a new addition to the schedule of events, will be substituting for Gretel Ehrlich, a novelist, poet and essayist from Wyoming. Ehrlich is currently recovering after being struck by lightning earlier last month.

Patrick will discuss his novel, a