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Thursday, September 2, 2010

WSU Visiting Artist - EL Doctorow - Book Talk & Signing (Ogden: Sept 21 - 22)

WSU Visiting Artist: E. L. Doctorow

WHO: Weber State University
WHAT: E.L. Doctorow, Book talk and book signing
WHERE: Ballroom, Shepherd Union Building
WHEN: Tuesday, 21 September, 7:30 pm & Wednesday, 22 September, 12:30 pm

Weber State University’s Office of the Provost and the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities are hosting author E.L. Doctorow on campus for a reading from his latest book, “Homer & Langley,” and a book signing at two public events: September 21 at 7:30 pm and September 22 at 12:30 pm. Both events will be held in the Shepherd Union Building Ballroom and are free and open to the public. While on campus, Doctorow will also speak to several literature, creative writing, and Arts and Humanities classes.

Doctorow’s Homer & Langley freely embellishes the story of the Collyer brothers, eccentric recluse-hoarders who gained notoriety in the mid-20th century. Their legend includes the discovery by police of one brother crushed by a pile of toppled garbage and the other dead from starvation, unable to escape through the tons of trash.

A review in The New Yorker describes the book as “a subdued, contemplative, and resolutely unsensational recounting of the brothers’ fatally intertwined lives. It’s told in the form of a first-person narrative by the elderly Homer . . . . As a young man, Homer was a promising pianist; his blindness is no handicap in the Collyers’ social circle but, rather, an attribute. In the sections where fictional characters cavort with historical figures, the book is most buoyant and entertaining. In fictionalizing the brothers’ story, Doctorow alters the record in minor but significant ways.” The New York Times similarly notes that, “Like characters in a Poe story, Homer and Langley have entombed themselves within their once-elegant mansion — and become the center of ‘a circle of animosity rippling outward from our neighbors to creditors, to the press, to the municipality, and, finally to the future.’”

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow (born January 6, 1931, New York, New York) is considered to be among the most gifted and admired American novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. While working as a reader for a motion picture company, he published his first novel, “Welcome to Hard Times “(1960). He then spent nine years as a book editor, first at New American Library working with such authors as Ian Fleming and Ayn Rand, and then, in 1964 as editor-in-chief at The Dial Press, publishing work by James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Ernest J. Gaines and William Kennedy, among others.

In 1969 Doctorow left publishing in order to write, and accepted a position as Visiting Writer at the University of California, Irvine, where he completed “The Book of Daniel” (1971), a fictionalized rendering of the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Doctorow’s next book, “Ragtime” (1975), has since been named one of the hundred best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library editorial board. Doctorow’s subsequent work includes the award-winning novels “World’s Fair” (1985), “Billy Bathgate” (1989) and “The March” (2005); two volumes of short fiction, “Lives of the Poets” (1984) and “Sweetland Stories” (2004); and two volumes of selected essays, “Jack London, Hemingway, and the Constitution” (1993) and “Creationists” (2006).

Doctorow has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Yale School of Drama, the University of California, Irvine, Princeton University and Harvard University, among others, and he currently holds the Glucksman Chair in American and English Letters at New York University. His honors include the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, and the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the recipient of the National Humanities Medal conferred at the White House in 1998.

For more information about Doctorow or his visit to WSU, please contact:
Michael Wutz, WSU English Dept., mwutz@weber.edu or 801 626 7011
Amy Lloyd, assistant, at amywlloyd@earthlink.net.
Madonne Miner, Dean, Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities, madonneminer@weber.edu

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