International Symposium at U.Va. Will Focus on and Feature Novelist
John Edgar Wideman
14, 2000 -- The career and work of one of America's
most widely acclaimed writers, John Edgar Wideman, will be the subject
of an international symposium honoring him at the University of
Virginia March 30-April 1.
author of such highly praised novels as "Sent for You Yesterday"
and "Philadelphia Fire" and numerous other books of fiction
and nonfiction that explore layers of complexity in black urban
experiences, will present a reading and booksigning at 8 p.m. Friday,
March 31, in the University Chapel. He will participate in various
panels, including one on racial profiling and affirmative action,
during the symposium, sponsored by Callaloo,
the noted journal of African-American and African diaspora arts
and letters published at U.Va.
whose far-ranging writing has been hailed for its vividness and
eloquence, has won, among other awards, the Pen/Faulkner Award for
fiction two times and a MacArthur Fellowship. The product of a vibrant,
racially mixed neighborhood of Pittsburgh who later became a Rhodes
Scholar at Oxford, he writes often about his roots and has explored
tragic and difficult events from his own life as gateways to larger
Callaloo symposium, open to the public, will include American and
European scholars discussing international perspectives on Wideman's
work. Events include:
p.m., Rotunda Dome Room, "Virtual Lynching: Racial Profiling,
Affirmative Action, Higher Education," a panel discussion,
opening with remarks by Wideman
a.m., Rotunda Dome Room, "True Fictions," a panel discussion
of Wideman's fiction
p.m., Rotunda Dome Room, "Creative Autobiography," a panel
discussion of Wideman's nonfiction
p.m., University Chapel, a reading by John Edgar Wideman, followed
by a booksigning
Saturday, April 1, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Wideman and the novelist
Percival Everett and poet Harryette Mullen will lead writing workshops
with U.Va. and local high school students.
who is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst, has been a visiting writer at numerous colleges and
has long worked with secondary schools around the country as a writing
consultant. His memoir, "Brothers and Keepers," was about
his younger brother, who was convicted and sentenced to life in
a robbery and murder case. His most recent novel is "Two Cities,"
set in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
the award-winning international literary journal, founded and edited
by U.Va. English professor Charles Rowell, devoted a special issue
to Wideman's work in the summer of 1999. "Weight,"
a short story by Wideman in that issue of Callaloo, has been selected
to receive First Prize in the 2000 O. Henry Awards for best stories
published in America in the previous year.
information about the conference and a complete schedule is available
on the web at http://www.people.virginia.edu/~callaloo/jw.htm
Ginger Thornton, Callaloo, (804) 924-6637; Bob Brickhouse, U.Va.
News Services, (804) 924-6856