Susan Sontag heads lineup for Literary Festival

Author and director Susan Sontag will headline Old Dominion's 25th annual Literary Festival, "The Creative Moment," with an 8 p.m. lecture Thursday, Oct. 3, in the North and Center Cafeterias of Webb Center. Her talk is part of the President's Lecture Series.

The Literary Festival will run Monday, Sept. 30, through Saturday, Oct. 5. This year's lineup includes an impressive array of award-winning writers, as well as visual and performing artists whose works will meld with literature to create a true artistic collaboration befitting the festival's silver anniversary.

All presentations are free and open to the public.

Sontag is one of America's best-known and most admired writers. Among her books, which are translated in 28 languages, are four novels: "The Benefactor," "Death Kit," "The Volcano Lover" and "In America," which won the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction. She also has published a collection of short stories, "I, etcetera"; several plays, including "Alice in Bed"; and five books of essays. Among the collections of essays are "On Photography," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, "Illness as Metaphor," and most recently, "Where the Stress Falls."

Sontag has written and directed four feature-length films, and also has directed plays in the United States and Europe, most recently a production of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in besieged Sarajevo. From 1990 to 1995, she held a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, and she was awarded the 2001 Jerusalem Prize for her work.

According to Phil Raisor, associate professor of English and director of this year's Literary Festival, the weeklong celebration of the written word is also a celebration of the festival's rich and varied history. Nods to the festival's past are peppered throughout the lineup, beginning with Debra Bruce, who as a new poet was featured in the first festival's program, and including presentations by several former festival directors. (Raisor himself was director of the first festival.) As in previous years, nationally known writers will join Old Dominion faculty and master of fine arts in creative writing graduates to present an eclectic slate of programs for the week.

For more information on the festival, visit or call 683-3991.

Monday, Sept. 30

  • 2-3:30 p.m. - "Writing Women's Voices," with poet Debra Bruce and novelist Lenore Hart, an Old Dominion graduate whose first novel, "Waterwoman," is a Barnes and Noble "Discover" title. 102 Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - "The Round Square: Readings in a Fluid Box," with Old Dominion faculty members Luisa Igloria, Michael Pearson, Janet Peery, Sheri Reynolds, Tim Seibles and Brian Silberman. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center

    Tuesday, Oct. 1
  • 12:30-2 p.m. - "Poem as Community, Community as Poem," a high-energy rendering of poetry, hip-hop, jazz and blues by New York performance troupe Universes. South Mall, Webb Center
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - "Readings Across the Color Lines," with African American writers Wanda Coleman, an award-winning poet, and Gregory H. Williams, president of City College of New York. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center

    Wednesday, Oct. 2
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - "Creative Nonfiction: The Prismatic Genre," a look at personal essays, memoirs, historical and literary journalism with David Fenza, Philip Gerard and Valerie Miner. 102 Godwin Building
  • 2-3:30 p.m. - "An Association of Readers," three Associated Writing Programs board members, Allison Joseph, Pablo Medina and Mark Winegardener, share their writings. 102 Godwin Building
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - "An Evening of Translation and Performance with W.D. Snodgrass and Friends," featuring poetry from Pulitzer Prize-winner Snodgrass, along with dance, music and literature of other languages with Steve Kelley, Frederick Lubich, Marilyn Marloff, Agnes Mobley-Wynne, Peter Schulman and Lee Teply. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center

    Thursday, Oct. 3
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - "Re-Reading the Literary Festival," readings by four former festival directors, Evelina Galang, William B. Patrick, Peggy Shumaker and Wayne Ude. 102 Godwin Building
  • 2-3:30 p.m. - "Forging the Individual Mind: A Reading by Mark Doty," featuring the award-winning poet, memoirist and teacher. 102 Godwin Building
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - The President's Lecture Series featuring Susan Sontag

    Friday, Oct. 4
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - "Given that the Painter is a Poet, the Poet is a Painter…," with poets Mark Doty and W.D. Snodgrass and painter Donald Roller Wilson, whose works are on display at the University Gallery, addressing the relationship between poetry and painting. Moderated by Linda McGreevy. 102 Godwin Building
  • 2-3:30 p.m. - "Reinventing Nature: A Panel," with award-winning writers Barbara Hurd, Robert Richardson and Marjorie Sandor discussing nature writing. Moderated by Tom Robotham, editor of Port Folio Weekly. 102 Godwin Building
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - "Virginia Deep in the Bones," with Virginia poets Ellen Bryant, R.H.W. Dillard, George Garrett and Henry Taylor. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center

    Saturday, Oct. 5
  • 5-7 p.m. - "God Is Near," a reception with artist Donald Roller Wilson, the Texas painter whose works are in the collections of Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and the Smithsonian Institution. University Gallery, 350 W. 21st St., Norfolk
  • 8-9:30 p.m. - "A Final Celebration: A Reading by Stephen Dunn," 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for "Different Hours," a collection of poems. Chandler Recital Hall, Diehn Center

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