Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts

Spring 2016 Writers Series

The University of Richmond’s 2015­–16 Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts will be hosted by the Department of English in spring 2016. This year’s events will focus on the relationship between the “popular” and the “literary,” showcasing the growing number of novelists and short-story writers today who work in popular genres, adapting their element to create new kinds of literary fiction.

Through lectures and readings by writers from the United States and Britain, the series will explore the manner in which science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, mystery, thriller, erotica, and the graphic novel (among others) have become staples of contemporary English-language fiction. Speakers will consider the pleasures of reading, the cultural history of popular forms and the fantasies and fears they address, and the reasons authors and readers gravitate toward stories about werewolves, zombies, superheroes, apocalyptic disaster, etc. They will also ask if lines still exist between “high” and “popular” literatures and what purpose, if any, such lines serve.

Speakers will also hold Q&A sessions with UR students, faculty, and staff the afternoon of their readings and lectures; see the schedule here. In addition, Festival organizers have partnered with Boatwright Library to screen films recommended by several authors participating in the festival; see the schedule here.

All events are free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Benjamin PercyBenjamin Percy, reading
Tues., Feb. 23
7 p.m.
Carole Weinstein International Center, International Commons

Benjamin Percy is the author of three novels, most recently The Dead Lands, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga. He is the author of Red Moon and The Wilding, as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh, and The Language of Elk. His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio, performed at Symphony Space, and published in Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and Tin House. He also works for Detective Comics and writes the Green Arrow series, teamed with artist Patrick Zircher. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, the Plimpton Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics.

Kelly Link

Kelly Link, lecture
"A Vampire is a Flexible Metaphor"
Wed., March 2
7 p.m.
Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room

Kelly Link is the author of four short story collections, most recently Get in Trouble. Her debut book, Stranger Things Happen, was a Village Voice Favorite Book and a Salon Book of the Year. Salon called the collection “an alchemical mixture of Borges, Raymond Chandler, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” with individual stories winning Nebula, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards. Her second collection, Magic for Beginners, was selected for best of the year lists by TIME, Salon, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Capital Times. With Gavin J. Grant, she has co-edited numerous anthologies, including multiple volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and, for young adults, Monstrous Affections and Steampunk! Michael Chabon has called Link “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction,” and Neil Gaiman wrote she “should be declared a national treasure.”

Walter MosleWalter Mosley, lecture
Thurs., March 24
7 p.m.
Tyler Haynes Commons, Alice Haynes Room

Walter Mosley is an award-winning and The New York Times bestselling author of thirty-eight books in genres ranging from the crime novel to literary fiction, nonfiction, political essay, science fiction, young adult, and erotica. He is a recipient of PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award, with short fiction appearing in a wide array of publications, including The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Los Angeles Times, and Playboy. He was the founder of the Black Genius lecture series at New York University as well as the editor of and a contributor to the book Black Genius. In 2003, he served as guest editor for The Best American Short Stories. He has written for television, film, and the stage, with two major films––Devil in a Blue Dress and Always Outnumbered––having been made from his work.

Glen DuncanGlen Duncan, reading
Tues., April 5
7 p.m.
Keller Hall Reception Room

Glen Duncan was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, and studied philosophy and literature at the universities of Lancaster and Exeter. In 1994, he visited India with his father (part roots odyssey, part research) before continuing to the United States, where he spent several months traveling the country by train, writing much of what would become his first novel, Hope, published to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 1997. Subsequent novels include Love Remains; I, Lucifer (shortlisted for the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize); Weathercock; Death of an Ordinary Man; The Bloodstone Papers; and A Day and A Night and A Day. The Last Werewolf, published in 2011, is the first in a trilogy which includes Talulla Rising and By Blood We Live. He has been named by The Times Literary Supplement as one of Britain's “twenty best young novelists.”

Emily Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel, reading
Tues., April 12
7 p.m.
Weinstein Hall, Brown-Alley Room

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Other novels include Last Night in Montreal, The Lola Quartet, and The Singer’s Gun, which received the 2014 Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. A staff writer for The Millions, she lives in New York City with her husband.

China Mieville

China Miéville, lecture
Tues., April 19
4:30 p.m.
Keller Hall Reception Room

China Miéville, reading
Wed., April 20
7 p.m.
Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium

China Miéville is the author of The City & The City, winner of the 2010 Hugo Award for best novel. Since the late 1990s, he has been writing what he calls "weird fiction," a blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror that's won wide critical acclaim. An academic by training, he earned an undergraduate degree in social anthropology from University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics, where he also earned his doctorate with a thesis on Marxism and international law. In 2001, he ran for a seat in the British House of Commons as a member of the Socialist Alliance. Three of his books — Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City—won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel in their respective years. Perdido Street Station and The Scar also received British Fantasy Awards.

Photo Credits: Benjamin Percy by Jennifer May; Kelly Link by Sharona Jacobs; Walter Mosley by Marcia Wilson; Glen Duncan by Michael Lionstar; Emily Mandel by Dese'Rae L. Stage; China Mieville by Chris Close.