May 16, 2006 — Tom Wolfe, author of “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” The Right Stuff,” “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and other major works of fiction and nonfiction, will speak at Valedictory Exercises at the University of Virginia on Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. Wolfe will address the Class of 2006 and their families and friends on the Lawn, in the heart of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village.
A native of Richmond and graduate of Washington and Lee (B.A., 1951) and Yale (Ph. D., American Studies, 1957) universities, Tom Wolfe is one of the most celebrated authors and social critics of our time. Wolfe began his career as a journalist, first writing for the Washington Post as its Latin America correspondent and later for the New York Herald-Tribune. The publication of “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” a collection of articles he had written for New York and Esquire magazines, established Wolfe as a leading figure in a new movement in nonfiction known as New Journalism.
Over the next five decades, Wolfe became a literary sensation. Among his early works are publications about life in the Sixties including, “The Pump House Gang,” “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and “The Right Stuff.” In 1987, Wolfe published his first novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” which had earlier appeared in serial form in Rolling Stone magazine. The novel sold more than two million copies and remained number one on The New York Times bestseller list for two months. In November of 1998, Wolfe published “A Man in Full.”
His latest work, “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” was published in 2004 to widespread acclaim. A New York Times bestseller, the novel follows the sheltered protagonist Charlotte Simmons through the trials and triumphs of her freshman year at the fictional Dupont University.
Tom Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; daughter, Alexandra; and son, Tommy.
In case of inclement weather, Valedictory Exercises will be held in University Hall.