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Novelist Tom Wolfe To Be University Of Virginia’s 2006 Valediction Speaker

September 26, 2005 -- Bestselling American novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe has accepted an invitation from the University of Virginia’s fourth-year class to be the featured speaker at Valedictory Exercises on May 20 during Finals Weekend 2006.

Valedictory Exercises are traditionally held the day before graduation in May and include the announcement of class awards and the presentation of the class gift.

Wolfe’s most recent novel, “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” was published in November 2004.  “Charlotte” chronicles the life and times of university students on a fictional college campus.

A native of Richmond, Va., Wolfe is best known for his 1987 novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

A graduate of Washington and Lee and Yale universities, Wolfe began his career in journalism as a reporter for the Springfield (Mass.) Union-News.  He later became a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune and the Latin American correspondent for The Washington Post.

In 1965 he completed his first book, “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” a collection of articles about the sixties. The book established Wolfe as a leading figure in New Journalism, a conversational and opinionated style of news writing found most often in magazines.

In 1968, he published two bestselling collections of social commentary: “The Pump House Gang” and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

After seven more non-fiction books, Wolfe’s first novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” appeared.  Originally released in serial form for Rolling Stone magazine, the narrative of 1980s New York came out in book form in 1987.

The novel eventually sold more than 800,000 copies in hardcover and later sold more than two million copies in paperback.

His 1998 follow-up novel, “A Man in Full,” took nearly 10 years to write.  It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 10 weeks and has sold nearly 1.4 million copies in hardcover.  Many reviewers praised this satire of Atlanta society, though it was met with criticism by some prominent American novelists, including Norman Mailer and John Irving.

Wolfe currently lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Contact: Carolyn Dillard, (434) 982-3030

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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