The Spring Literary Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Graphic courtesy of: The Spring Literary Festival

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Spring Literary Festival celebrates 25 years

The Program in Creative Writing at Ohio University will present the 25th annual Spring Literary Festival May 4 through May 6, featuring the prestigious writers Rosellen Brown, Rita Dove, Debra Marquart, Padgett Powell and Tobias Wolff.

Since 1986, the Spring Literary Festival has showcased some of the world's finest writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including commercial success stories, U.S. poet laureates, and well-known Ohio scribes. This year is no different.

Several of the featured writers are making return trips to the festival. Brown entertained Athens crowds with her work at one of the first festivals in the 80s, and she returns this year with three more books under her belt. She has been the recipient of an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Her books include “Tender Mercies” and “Before and After,” both of which have been adapted for the screen.

Powell makes a return trip to Athens as well.  Best-known for his highly-praised novel “Edisto,” Powell has published widely in both fiction and nonfiction, and his work has appeared in “Best American Short Stories,” “O.Henry Prize Stories,” “New Stories from the South,” The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and “Best American Sportswriting.”

Wolff read at the first Spring Literary Festival and will help celebrate the25th.  Perhaps best known for his memoir, “This Boy's Life,” which later became a film starring Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolff is a star in the world of fiction as well, with collections like “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” “Back in the World,” “The Night in Question,” and, most recently, “Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories.”  His work is translated widely and has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Dove joins the festival yet again for its silver anniversary.  The Akron native served as poet laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for “Thomas and Beulah,” her third poetry collection, she has published nine volumes of poetry and a novel.

Marquart will be making her first appearance at the festival.  Her work has received numerous awards, including the Shelby Foote Prize for the Essay from the Faulkner Society, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2008 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.  Her book “The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere” received the "Elle Lettres" award from Elle Magazine and the 2007 PEN USA Creative Nonfiction Award.

OHIO is thrilled to welcome these writers and to welcome members of the University community and residents from the surrounding area to the Spring Literary Festival.

The festival is held on the Ohio University Athens campus—all events are in the Baker Center Theater, at 20 East Union St. “Lit Fest,” as it's commonly known, is sponsored by the Department of English and funded by the College of Arts and Sciences and Arts for Ohio, and all readings and lectures are free and open to the public.