16th Annual Literary Festival
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Literary Festival will be host to 11 award-winning writers


Eleven award-winning writers, including recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, will be on campus next month for the 16th annual Literary Festival. The festival kicks off at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4, with a poetry reading by Mary Oliver in room 104 of the Batten Arts and Letters Building.

Donations of $7.50 ($5 for students) will be accepted for the reading, which is designated as a fund-raiser. All other Literary Festival readings are free.

The author of seven books of poetry, Oliver is currently The Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book "American Primitive."

Of her poetry, writer James Dickey has said, "Far beneath the surface-flash of linguistic effect, Mary Oliver works her quiet and mysterious spell. It is a true spell, unlike any other poet's, the enchantment of the true maker."

The festival, which is sponsored by the university's Creative Writing Program, continues Oct. 5-7 (see accompanying schedule).

"As we all know, there is no substitute for quality in writing, whether that quality be in the short stories or creative non-fiction of emerging writers or in the fiction and poetry of writers who have, for many years, tested the durability of their talents," said Janet Sylvester, assistant professor of English and creative writing, and director of the festival.

"The 16th annual Literary Festival celebrates the very diverse voices of 11 award-winning writers, all of whom share an abiding fascination with the power of language to make us feel."

This year's lineup includes one Old Dominion author, Michael Pearson, a non-fiction writer whose first book, "Imagined Places: Journeys Into Literary America," was listed as one of the Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. His second book, "A Place That's Known: Essays," will be published in February 1994 by the University Press of Mississippi.

An associate professor of English, Pearson will give a reading at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the Newport News Room of Webb Center.

Also giving readings will be:

This year's festival should get a boost in attendance from local teenagers. As part of their pilot program "Words Up: Poets at the Chrysler," the Associated Writing Programs, in conjunction with the Chrysler Museum, is sponsoring visits by 13 area poets at Norfolk's middle and high schools on Oct. 4.

The poets, who include Old Dominion faculty and alumni, will talk about writing as well as encourage the youngsters to attend the festival.

This page was digitized and formatted by Rob Shell, student in Pierce Tyler's Digital Literacy course (English 250), Fall 1999.