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Festival Schedule

Wednesday, May 7

  • 7:30 p.m. - Reading by Ann Hood
  • 8:30 p.m - Reading by Yusef Komunyakaa
Thursday, May 8
  • 11 a.m. - Lecture by Howard Norman
  • Noon - Lecture by Loudon Wainwright III
  • 7:30 p.m. - Reading by Molly Haskell
  • 8:30 p.m. - Lecture by Yusef Komunyakaa
Friday, May 9
  • 11 a.m. - Lecture by Ann HooD
  • Noon - Lecture by Molly Haskell
  • 7:30 p.m. - Reading by Howard Norman
  • 8:30 p.m. - Reading by Loudon Wainwright III

For more information contact the Office of Special Programs at 740-593-4181 or visit


May 2, 2003
Five highly acclaimed writers highlight Spring Literary Festival
Compiled by Susan Green

If you are the type of person who swoons over an elegant turn of phrase, the Spring Literary Festival is for you.

Since its inception in 1986, the festival has developed a reputation for bringing some of the world's finest poets, fiction and non-fiction writers to Ohio University. This year's festival features five highly acclaimed, award-winning writers: Ann Hood and Howard Norman, poet Yusef Komunyakaa, film critic Molly Haskell and singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.

QuoteThe five writers will be present throughout the festival, which runs May 7-9 in Irvine Auditorium on the West Green.

The author of seven novels and two works of non-fiction, Hood's work is noted for its portrayals of complex friendships that cross generations and spiritual journeys that result from personal loss. Publisher's Weekly describes her as, "a very serious writer whose novels trace the knotty weave of emotion that at once interconnects and separates her characters." Hood's recent book Do Not Go Gently: My Search for Miracles in a Cynical Time, tells of her father's battle with cancer and the search for a cure.

Hood, who began writing while working as a flight attendant for TWA, published her first novel in 1987 and received a Breadloaf Writer's Conference Fellowship that same year. Her essays and stories have appeared in newspapers and periodicals.

A novelist, short story writer and translator, Norman's work spans more than 30 years. He is best known for his Canadian trilogy: The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard and The Haunting of L.

At an early age Norman was attracted to the cultures of the native Canadians, and much of his early work was translations of the traditional tales learned while living and working among those cultures. His translations earned him many awards and his first two novels, The Northern Lights and The Bird Artist, were nominated for the National Book Award.

The Boston Review said Norman is "a quiet writer who knows how to get your attention."

He is writer-in-residence for spring 2003 at the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College and he teaches writing at the University of Maryland and the New York State Summer Writers Institute.

A prolific writer, Komunyakaa is the author of 12 books of poetry, including Talking Dirty to the Gods and Thieves of Paradise, which were both finalists for the National Books Critics Circle Award.

In a biography of Komunyakaa, Tomeiko Ashford wrote, "his poetry is derived from his childhood, his love of jazz and blues music, the Vietnam War, this travels and nearly everything else that affects his life. By juxtaposing his varied experiences, he attempts to form meaning and lend insight where others find only chaos."

Komunyakaa is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

Haskell is one of the first United States feminist film critics to emerge from the 1970s. She is the author of three books and is best known for her groundbreaking critical work, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. Published in 1973, the book exposes the increasingly negative representation of women in films of the 1940s through the early 1970s, and discusses the larger social significance of the male dominated film industry. Christian Science Monitor described it as an incisive, exceedingly thoughtful look at the distorted lens through which Hollywood has historically viewed women. It is a valuable contribution not just of film criticism, but also to a society in which the vital role of women is just beginning to emerge.

Haskell has served as a film critic for the Village Voice, Vogue and New York Magazine. She also writes a regular column for the British newspaper, The Guardian.

She is the recipient of several awards, including the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Film Criticism and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres Award.

With a career spanning more than 30 years, singer-songwriter Wainwright has released 19 albums that have earned him a reputation as a shrewd lyrical commentator. He began writing songs in 1968 and achieved his first commercial success in 1972 with "Dead Skunk," which he claims to have penned in 15 minutes.

Wainwright is the recipient of two Grammy nominations for I'm Alright (1985) and More Love Songs (1986). His latest recording is Last Man On Earth (2001) and his short story School Days, is included in the recent anthology Songs Without Rhyme: Prose by Celebrated Songwriters (2001). The New York Times has invited him to write several editorial pieces.

Also known for his career as an actor, he appeared regularly on the Fox series, Undeclared and hosted the BBC series Loudon & Co. This year he will appear in an upcoming film by Tim Burton.

Readings and lectures are free and open to the public. Parking at the Convocation Center is free after 5 p.m. Books by the authors will be available for purchase at the conclusion of the evening sessions.

Susan Green is a media specialist for University Communications and Marketing


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