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Annual Spring Literary Festival scheduled for May 5-7

ATHENS, Ohio (April 26, 2004) -- Ohio University's 19th Annual Spring Literary Festival will be held May 5-7. This year's visiting writers are poets Carl Dennis and Sharon Olds, fiction writers Steven Millhauser and Mary Robison and philosopher and nonfiction writer Alphonso Lingis. All daytime lectures will be held in the Walter Hall rotunda. All of the evening readings will be held at Irvine Auditorium.

Carl DennisCarl Dennis' most recent poetry collection, "Practical Gods," was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Dennis has said that he writes his poetry for what Emerson called "the unknown friend," and he does so in a voice that is both humble and introspective, but that allows itself a laugh now and then, sometimes even at its own expense. Dennis is the author of several other poetry collections and he has been awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Sharon OldsSharon Olds came to poetry somewhat late in life; her first book was published when she was 37. Her poetry has been widely praised for its courage, emotional power and sheer physicality. Olds' latest collection, "The Unswept Room," was nominated for the 2002 National Book Award in the poetry category. Her work has also been awarded the San Francisco Poetry Center Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Olds is professor of English at New York University.

Stephen MillhauserShort story writer and novelist Steven Millhauser won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer." Creating new worlds is much of what Millhauser's work is about; he is often compared to fabulist writers Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. His most recent work is "The King in the Tree," three novellas in which he again visits the realm of myth and fable. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Millhauser has also received the Lannon Literary Award for Fiction and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Millhauser is professor of English at Skidmore College,

Mary RobisonMary Robison's biting depictions of contemporary American life were first unleashed on the literary world in 1977 when The New Yorker published her short story, "Sisters." Only six years later, the magazine had published dozens of her stories and she had three short story collections in print. Her 2001 novel, "Why Did I Ever," about a triple-divorced Southern screenwriter living on Ritalin, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner and was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her latest book, "Tell Me," is a collection of thirty stories, most of them previously published. Robison, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship recipient, teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Alphonso LingisHis reviewers and critics have called Alphonso Lingis everything from a "poet in disguise" to a "brilliant philosopher." A professor of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University specializing in phenomenology and existentialism, Lingis is also something of an anthropologist and world traveler. His latest book, "Trust," investigates what it means to be a foreigner abroad, cut off from the familiar customs and traditions of home, living with entirely new people whose languages, customs and motivations are unfamiliar. He has written several other books, including "Dangerous Emotions" and "The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common."

The Spring Literary Festival is presented by the Program in Creative Writing, Department of English. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call (740) 593-2838 or (740) 593-4181 or visit www.english.ohiou.edu/litfest/.  

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, May 5

  • 7:30 p.m. – Reading by Mary Robison, Irvine Auditorium
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reading by Carl Dennis, Irvine Auditorium

Thursday, May 6

  • 11 a.m. – Lecture by Sharon Olds, New Lecture Hall rotunda
  • Noon – Lecture by Steven Millhauser, New Lecture Hall rotunda
  • 7:30 p.m. – Lecture by Carl Dennis, New Lecture Hall rotunda
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reading by Alphonso Lingis, Irvine Auditorium

Friday, May 7

  • 11 a.m. – Lecture by Mary Robison, New Lecture Hall rotunda
  • Noon – Lecture by Alphonso Lingis, New Lecture Hall rotunda
  • 7:30 p.m. – Reading by Sharon Olds, Irvine Auditorium
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reading by Steven Millhauser, Irvine Auditorium

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Media Contact: Jean Cunningham or John Kachuba, Special Programs Office, (740) 593-4181

Editors: Photos of Dennis, Olds, Millhauser, Robison and Lingis can be found at:

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