7th Annual Literary Festival
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The Mace & Crown Magazine, September 20, 1984

Literary Festival to host writers October 1-4

Charlie Maden

College is more than an academic learning process. It continually offers students a chance to deepen their minds with a variety of free services. Monday through Thursday, Oct. 1-4, ODU is offering this opportunity to students free of charge. The seventh annual Literary Festival will host six of the most reknowned poets and authors of our time. Opening the festival is Amiri Baraka, formally LeRoi Jones, the "father of modern black poetry." Baraka is a writer of vast talents. He has published twenty-four plays, eleven volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction, a novel, a story collection, and the Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. He also founded Harlem's Black Arts Repretory Theater School and Newarks Spirit House. Baraka touches many facets of life with his work. His first poetry collection, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, and his subsequent discussion of music and culture, Blues People, give proof of his versatility. Gwendolyn Brooks, one of the best loved and most widely read American poets, will give an informal discussion entitled, "On Poetry: Brooks on Brooks," and will conclude the festival with a reading. Brooks is a writer for the common people. Her works include Annie Allen, a 1950 Pulitzer Prize winner, In the Mecca, a powerful book-length poem about a child's brutal murder set against a city of indifference and misery, the novel Maud Martha. She has also written books for children, and the first volume of her autobiography, Report from Part One. For generations her writing has opened the doors to writers of all colors. Another influential woman, Gloria Emerson, will present a talk, "Writing About War." Her experience on the subject warrants attention. Her book, Winners and Losers, presents America's reaction, and lack of reaction to the Vietnam War, as well as her personal witness. Emerson covered Vietnam from 1970 to 1972. In 1971 she received the George Polk Award for excellence in foreign reporting. She has most recently been on assignment in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Her essays on the subject of war have ap-peared in Esquire, Harper's, Saturday Review, Vogue, Playboy, New Times, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. For fiction lovers, Mark Smith, called by The New York Times, "a resurrected Charles Dickens," will discuss fiction writing and read his work. The Chicago Daily News calls him "one of the most ambitious, original, and thought-provoking novelists writing today." Smith is the author of seven novels. He wrote The Death of the Detective, The Moon Lamp, The Delphinium Girl, and his most recent two books, Doctor Blues and Smoke Street, have enhanced his reputation as one of the great writers living today. Along with Mark Smith, Robley Wilson Jr. will discuss fiction writing. Wilson's work mostly deals with politics, sexual and otherwise, and the circumstances that join and divide women and men. Vance Bourjaily said of Wilson, "writers who love and create short stories in America today are our purest literary artists, and Robley Wilson Jr. is a prince among them." His most recent collection of short stories, Dancing for Men, received the 1982 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. His two previous story collections are Living Alone and The Pleasures of Manhood. He has also written three books of poems and is the editor of The North American Review. Wilson will also give a reading of his work. George Garrett, in spite of his placement in this writing, is among the most prolific historical authors of our time. "Not since Chaucer has an English writer given us such powerful, vivid story telling," said Annie Dillar. "George Garrett has enlarged the scope of historical fiction," wrote The Chicago Sun Times about his 1983 work The Succession: A Novel of Elizabeth James. He has written four other novels, six short story collections, six books of poetry, two plays, several screenplays, and a biography of James Jones. Garret is currently at the University of Virginia as the Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing. He will give a formal talk and a reading. As previous years have proven, the Literary Festival is steadily growing and gaining more popularity. It is a blessing to have authors of this caliber on campus. For the price of a breath of air, any person can widen their horizons or simply be entertained by some of the greatest writers of our time.

Monday, October 1

8 p.m. A READING by Amiri Baraka (Batten Arts & Letters Auditorium)

Tuesday, October 2

12:30 p.m. LIVING WITH ELIZABETHANS By George Barrett (Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

2 p.m. LITERATURE AND REALITY By Amiri Baraka (Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

8 p.m. FICTION READING by George Garrett (Batten Arts & Letters Auditorium)

Wednesday, October 3

11 a.m. ON FICTION by Robley Wilson, Jr., and Mark Smith (Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

2 p.m. FICTION READING by Robley Wilson, Jr. (Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

8 p.m. FICTION READING by George Garrett (Batten Arts & Letters Auditorium)

Thursday, October 4

12:30 p.m. QN POETRY: BROOKS ON BROOKS by Gwendolyn Brooks Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

2 p.m. WRITING ABOUT WAR by Gloria Emerson (Rooms 148-150 Webb Center)

8 p.m. POETRY READING by Gwendolyn Brooks (Batten Arts & Letters Auditorium