4th Annual Literary Festival
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The Mace & Crown, Thursday, October 8, 1981, page 2
Bradley kicks off festival
Staff Writer

David Bradley, author of the novel, The Chaneysville incident, made an impressive showing at the kickoff of ODU's Literary Festival Monday night.

Bradley, a native of Pennsylvania and a professor at Temple University, read several passages from his 400 Word-plus novel which is the story of a historian's search for the truth about an Incident near his hometown. The audience responded well to his graphic descriptions of the differences in sanitary facilities on airlines, trains, and buses, laughing repeatedly at all the appropriate moments. Another passage placed emphasis on the relationship between the main character John Washington and his childhood mentor Old Jack Crawley; the mood changed from jovial to thought-provoking, philosophical.

The work has autobiographical undertones, something Bradley says is virtually impossible for a first-time novel writer to avoid and which interviewers invariably pick up on and ask about. Some of the details in

The Chaneysville incident are, of course, from his own experience, though he adds, "I am about the book, the book is not about me."

Doing research, writing, and getting over the anger of learning about certain historical discrepancies made this book a ten-year project for Bradley. He began the work as a short story while a junior In college to follow up a lead given to him by his mother when she was doing a historical research project of her own. Something clicked inside of Bradley when he saw the gravestones of thirteen slaves and he began the writing, a venture which ended in the birth of the book.

Bradley seemed to enjoy the reading himself and was apparently disappointed to find that there were no questions afterward. The audience appeared moved as Bradley made his reading.

The future? Bradley has plans inside his head for a mystery ("just for fun") and a novel about the 60's. With the success of The Chaneysville Incident, however, many more opportunities are opening up for him, and he says that he may not pursue either of these possibilities.

Photo by John Waldeck