May 3, 2010
The annual Spring Literary Festival will welcome five critically acclaimed authors from all over the country and from various fields of writing, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and even translation. The festival runs May 5 through 7 and each author will present a lecture and reading.
"Hearing an author in person often adds a level of nuance or insight into the work – a reminder that there's a thinking, breathing person behind every book," said Kevin Haworth, coordinator of Special Programs in the Department of English. "Plus, it makes reading into a public event; you're no longer just reading alone, but sharing the experience with other people who love ideas and books as much as you do."
This year’s lineup includes Lydia Davis, Robin Hemley, Mary Ruefle, George Saunders and Tim Seibles. Collectively, their awards include two MacArthur "Genius" Fellowships, several National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship and other numerous honors.
"George Saunders and Lydia Davis are winners of a MacArthur 'Genius' Award, considered by many people to be one of the highest honors a person in this country can win," Haworth said.
Davis is the author of five collections of short fiction, including "Varieties of Disturbance," a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award; "Break It Down;" "Samuel Johnson Is Indignant;" and the novel "The End of the Story." Her most recent work is "The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis." She also is a translator of French novels. Davis was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts for her fiction and translation, and received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2003.
Hemley is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on "DO-OVER!" He has published seven books, and his stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many literary magazines. Robin currently directs the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Hemley is a former resident of Athens.
Ruefle is the author of, most recently, "The Most of It and A Little White Shadow," as well as numerous collections of poetry. Her poems and prose appear in many anthologies, including "Best American Poetry," “Great American Prose Poems” and "The Next American Essay." She has received both the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.
Saunders is the author of short stories including the bestselling "Pastoralia" and "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Saunders is the author of the novel-length illustrated fable, "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil," and the New York Times bestselling children's book, "The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip." He was awarded both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Seibles is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently "Buffalo Head Solos." Seibles has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and he is currently an associate professor of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University.
The festival features ten events throughout the three days. All events are free and open to the public.
"This is by far the most high-profile literary event in Athens each year, it's a terrific opportunity for both students and community members alike," Haworth said.
The festival is sponsored by the Program in Creative Writing in the Department of English and funded by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from Arts for Ohio. For more information click here.