20th Annual Literary Festival
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Courier (Online): October 1997

20th annual Literary Festival
features 'Fierce Minds at Work'

Old Dominion's 20th annual Literary Festival, "Fierce Minds at Work," will bring more than 10 nationally known authors to campus Oct. 14-17 for a series of talks, readings and panel discussions. All are free and open to the public.

Among the authors, poets and writers will be Melissa Fay Greene, Martin Espada, Marita Golden and Gay Talese, as well as local writers Mike D'Orso and Sheri Reynolds, first-year assistant professor of English. The writers will talk about their works and life experiences, as well as participate in panel discussions.

"Fierce Minds at Work" is a reference to those writers who are consumed by "wrestling with the many complexities that terrify and enchant us. They are the ones who learn to step into the hurricane, find the eye and return with various maps through the storm to that still point where understanding begins," says Tim Seibles, assistant professor of English and director of the festival.

The Literary Festival is funded in part by a grant from the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities and by the Dr. Forrest P. White Endowment, made possible by a generous gift from Mrs. Edie White. A schedule is printed below. For more information call 683-5120.

  • Tuesday, October 14
    10 a.m. - Webb Center: Hampton-Newport News Room
    Cornelius Eady (poetry)

    The winner of an NEA fellowship, a National Arts Club scholarship in poetry at the Breadloaf Writer's Conference, a Millay Colony fellowship and fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Eady has worked as a Poet-in-the-Schools in New York, Vermont and Virginia.

    In Virginia, Eady was in the Artist-in-Residency program in Richmond and the University of Virginia's Young Writer's Workshop. He was also Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College from 1982-84. His books include "Kartunes," "Victims of the Latest Dance Craze," "The Gathering of My Name" and "You Don't Miss Your Water."

    1:30 p.m. - Webb Center: Williamsburg Room

    Panel Discussion - "The Inner Mounting Flame: Self, Culture and Witness" with Cornelius Eady and Joy Harjo

    3 p.m. - Technology Building: University Theatre

    Melissa Fay Greene (nonfiction)
    A two-time finalist of the National Book Award, Melissa Fay Greene has won numerous awards for her books, including the Southern Book Critics Circle, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Lillian Smith Award, the Chicago Tribune Hartland Prize, the QPB New Voices Award and the Georgia Author of the Year Award.

    She is author of "Praying for Sheetrock," the story of the political awakening of the rural African-American community of Coastal McIntosh County and the downfall of the corrupt courthouse gang, and "The Temple Bombing," about the attack on an Atlanta synagogue in October 1958.

    8 p.m. - Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center:
    Chandler Recital Hall Joy Harjo (poetry)

    Joy Harjo has published five books of poetry, including "She had Some Horses," "In Mad Love and War" and "Secrets from the Center of the World." Among her awards are the Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature from PEN Oakland, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Delmore Schwartz Award from New York University, the American Book Award, the Poetry Award from the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association and the 1990 American Indian Distinguished Achievement Award.

    Most recently she received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas and the Bravo Award from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance.

    Wednesday, October 15
    10 a.m. - Webb University Center: Portsmouth-Chesapeake-Virginia Beach rooms
    Mike D'Orso (journalism, nonfiction)

    Mike D'Orso is a Virginia journalist whose magazine and newspaper stories have won numerous national awards. His most recent book, "Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood," received the Lillian Smith Award and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of its Best Books of 1996.

    He has also co-authored six biographies, including "Rise and Walk," an account of professional football player Dennis Byrd's struggle with paralysis, and "Walking With the Wind," the story of civil rights leader and current U.S. Congressman John Lewis.

    2 p.m. - Webb Center:
    Portsmouth-Chesapeake-Virginia Beach rooms Liz Waldner (poetry)

    Liz Waldner, a faculty member at Tufts University in Boston, is the author of several books of poetry, including "Bus Stop," "Memo (La) Mento" and most recently, "Homing Devices."

    In 1994 she received the Barbara Deming Memorial Award and the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Poetry. Her latest manuscript, "Homeseeker's Paradise," has been selected as a National Poetry Series finalist.

    3:30 p.m. - Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building, Room 102

    Panel Discussion: "What Kind of Fire: Three Genres, Three Truths?" with panelists Liz Waldner, Reginald McKnight and Melissa Fay Greene

    8 p.m. - Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center:
    Chandler Recital Hall Sheri Reynolds (fiction)

    Featured recently on Oprah Winfrey's Book of the Month Club for her 1997 novel "Rapture of Canaan," Sheri Reynolds is also the author of "Bitterroot Landing" (1994) and "A Gracious Plenty" (1997). She has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary. Reynolds joined the English department faculty at Old Dominion this fall.

    Thursday, October 16
    10 a.m. - Webb Center: Hampton-Newport News rooms
    Reginald McKnight (fiction)

    After winning the Drue Heinz Prize for his first collection of short stories, "Moustapha's Eclipse" in 1988, Reginald McKnight has continued to pick up momentum as an author. In 1990 he published a novel, "I Get on the Bus," and in 1992 another collection of short stories, "The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas." The title story of that collection received both an O'Henry Award and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence. Most recently, McKnight, who teaches at the University of Maryland, received a Whiting Fellowship for Writing and a Pushcart Prize. His latest book, "White Boys," was released earlier this year.

    2 p.m. - Webb Center: Williamsburg Room

    A conversation with Martín Espada: "Race, Culture, Rage and Compassion" 3:30 p.m. - Technology Building: University Theatre

    Louise Redd (fiction)
    Louise Redd's first novel, "Playing the Bones," was chosen by Barnes & Noble for the "Discover Great New Writers" program and was selected by the Austin Chronicle as one of the top 10 books of 1996. Redd, who has received the Stella Airhardt Award and the Louis Sudler Prize, will publish her second novel, "Victory Gardens," in 1998.

    8 p.m. - Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center:
    Chandler Recital Hall Martín Espada (poetry)

    Called the Latino poet of his generation, Martín Espada has written five books of poetry. His fifth book, "Imagine the Angels of Bread," won the American Book Award, was a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award and was chosen as one of the best books of 1996 by The Progressive magazine. Another volume of poems, "Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hands," won the Paterson Poetry Prize and the PEN/Revson Fellowship. Many of his poems arise from his Puerto Rican heritage and his work experiences, ranging from bouncer to tenant lawyer. He is also the editor of "Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination" and "El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poets." Espada is currently an associate professor in the English department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

    Friday, October 17

    10 a.m. - Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center: Chandler Recital Hall Marita Golden (fiction)

    The author of the autobiography "Migrations of the Heart" and the novels "A Woman's Place," "Long Distance Life" and "And Do Remember Me," Marita Golden is also the editor of the anthology "Skin Deep," a collection of fiction and nonfiction on the subject of race by black and white women writers.

    Golden, a senior writer in the Graduate Writing Program at Virginia Commonwealth University, most recently wrote "Saving Our Sons: Raising Black Children in a Turbulent World." Her writing has been widely anthologized and is used in college courses around the country. She is also founder of the Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Award for emerging African-American college writers of fiction.

    2 p.m. - Batten Arts and Letters Building, Room 104

    Richard Hell (fiction)
    Musician, poet and novelist Richard Hell is best known for his album with the Voidoids, "Blank Generation." His first novel, "Go Now," was published in 1996. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines, most recently including New York Magazine, Spin, Punk Rocker, Village Voice and Rolling Stone.

    His poetry has been published for almost 30 years in a wide variety of publications, including anthologies and magazines, and he is internationally known for his seminal punk music produced with the Voidoids.

    3:30 p.m. - Batten Arts and Letters Building, Room 104

    Panel discussion: "Friction: The Rub Between Fiction and Nonfiction" with panelists Richard Hell, Gay Talese, Mike D'Orso and Louise Redd

    8 p.m. - Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center:
    Chandler Recital Hall Gay Talese (fiction and nonfiction)

    Author of the highly acclaimed best seller, "Unto the Sons," a historical memoir that spans two world wars, Gay Talese has also written other bestsellers, including "The Kingdom and the Power," "Honor Thy Father" and "Thy Neighbor's Wife."

    He is a regular contributor to Esquire magazine, where he was credited by Tom Wolfe with the creation of an inventive form of nonfiction writing called The New Journalism.

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