U.Va. Authors Fill the Pages as Book Festival Participants

March 6, 2008 — It's like spring break for book lovers. Instead of reading at the beach, however, readers and writers will converge on Charlottesville March 26-30 for the 14th annual Virginia Festival of the Book.

Among the festival's roster of approximately 365 authors are dozens of U.Va. faculty and alumni participants who will read or discuss their work.

In addition to poetry and fiction, faculty members will share their expertise on a range of topics: religion and politics, money and crime, happiness and sex, history and war, the nature of good and evil. U.Va. professors will participate on panels looking at academic freedom, civil rights, aging issues and the environment.

• AUDIO SLIDE SHOW: Nancy Damon provides highlights of the Virginia Fesitival of the Book

Organized by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which is affiliated with the University of Virginia, festival events — almost all of which are free — are held on Grounds and at other locations around Charlottesville. Several U.Va. departments and programs co-sponsor events, as well. In recent years, attendance at the book festival has surpassed 20,000, drawing attendees from more than 30 states. For a complete schedule and list of authors, see www.vabook.org.

Here is a small sample of some of the programs including U.Va. faculty and alumni, listed by date.

Thursday, March 27, 4 p.m.
U.Va. Creative Writing Alumni Reading
Fiction and poetry with Taylor Antrim ("The Headmaster Ritual"), Aaron Baker ("Mission Work"), John McLaughlin ("Run in the Fam'ly"), Nicole Pekarske ("Intermissa," "Venus").
Location: U.Va. Bookstore

Thursday, March 27, 8 p.m.
Evil and Sin
With authors Barbara Oakley, Oakland University ("Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Enron Rose, Hitler Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend"), John Portmann, professor of religious studies ("A History of Sin") and Jennifer Geddes, research associate professor, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture ("Evil After Postmodernism")
Location: Village School, 215 East High Street

Friday, March 28, Noon
Ready & Satisfied! Women, Motherhood & Intimacy in Later Life
Elizabeth Gregory, University of Houston ("Ready: The New Later Motherhood") and U.Va.'s Dr. Anita Clayton, David C. Wilson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and Clinical Professor of Ob-Gyn ("Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy")
Hosted by U.Va.'s Studies in Women and Gender program
Location: Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room

Friday, March 28, 4 p.m.

Forming American Identities: Southern Writers
The conclusion of a colloquia series, investigating how Southern history and culture affect and create our understanding of what it means to be an American. Casey Clabough, Lynchburg College; U.Va.'s Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor of English; and Lisa Russ Spaar, poet and associate professor of English, discuss the works of Southern writers whose work they admire. Reception to follow.
Hosted by U.Va. Art Museum
Location: U.Va. Art Museum

Friday, March 28, 4 p.m.
Senior Happiness, Life Satisfaction, Health & Fitness
Jonathan Haidt, psychology professor ("The Happiness Hypothesis,") and Glenn Gaesser, education professor and director of kinesiology ("Big Fat Lies, The Truth About your Weight and Health,") — both U.Va. faculty members — offer tools to lead happy and healthy lives into your 80s and beyond.
Hosted by Senior Center, Inc.
Location: Senior Center, 1180 Pepsi Place

Friday, March 28, 4 p.m.

Stories of the Civil Rights Struggle
Hank Klibanoff ("The Race Beat: The Press, The Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation"), Michael Klarman, U.Va. James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History ("Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History"), and Risa L. Goluboff, U.Va. professor of law and history ("The Lost Promise of Civil Rights")
Sponsored by Bank of America
Location: City Council Chambers, 605 E. Main St.

Friday, March 28, 6 p.m.

Depravity, Upheaval and the "Good War"
Five days after the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, writer Dave Griffith ("A Good War is Hard to Find"), L.A.-based painter Sandow Birk ("The Depravities of War") and composer Judith Shatin, U.Va.'s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Music ("Songs of War and Peace") will reflect on how artists address the most pressing social and political issues without resorting to cliché and didacticism.
Hosted by Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Second Street Gallery
Location: Second Street Gallery, 115 Second St. East

Friday, March 28, 7 p.m.
The Politics of God
This session explores the faith factor in American public life and ponders the matter of why we can't seem to stop talking about religion. One writer calls for a moratorium on religious talk in politics; the other seeks to inspire a new progressive religious culture. Both are concerned about the misuses and abuses of faith in recent American politics. With Amy Sullivan, TIME magazine editor ("The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats are Closing the God Gap") and U.Va.'s Charles Marsh, professor of religion and director of the Project on Lived Theology ("Wayward Christian Soldiers"). Moderated by U.Va.'s Charles Mathewes, associate professor of religion ("A Theology of Public Life")
Hosted by the Project on Lived Theology and the Center for Religion and Democracy at U.Va.
Location: St. Paul's Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave.

Friday, March 28, 8 p.m.

A Poetry Evening: Charles Simic and Charles Wright
The Virginia Quarterly Review presents a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Wright, Souder Family Professor of English at U.Va. ("Littlefoot"), and current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic ("My Noiseless Entourage").
Location: Culbreth Theatre

Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m.
The Campus Client: Legal Issues in Higher Education
Legal questions involving academic freedom, affirmative action and student speech are but a few of the issues facing college administrators today. The panel will discuss some of the legalities involved in providing a college education: U.Va. law professor Robert O'Neil, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, John Jeffries, dean of U.Va.'s Law School, and Barbara Perry (Sweet Briar College).
Hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
Location: City Council Chambers, 605 E. Main St.

Sunday, March 30, 1:30 p.m.
A New Path: Virginia Indian Heritage Trail
Panelists Chief Kenneth Adams, Upper Mattaponi tribe, Jeffrey Hantman, U.Va. associate professor of anthropology, and David Bearinger, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, join Karenne Wood, director of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at the VFH, to discuss ways in which the award-winning Virginia Indian Heritage Trail is helping to change public perceptions about Virginia's Indians.
Location: Central Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, 201 E. Market St.