May 2011

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It’s official: the dates for the Second Biennial John Updike Society Conference at Suffolk University in Boston are June 13-16, 2012. Plan on getting to Boston the night of the 12th if you don’t want to miss anything. As with the first conference, there will be a combination of academic sessions and panels/talks from people who knew John Updike well. While field trips are still being arranged, the Houghton Library (pictured) will mount a special exhibit and host a reception for attendees, and we’ll spend an afternoon at Harvard seeing some of the Updike sites there. We’ll also take a trip to the North Shore to see Updike sites, with another trip to Salem that will tie in with panels on Updike and Hawthorne. We may also take a side trip to Fenway Park.

So mark your calendars and start thinking of what new research and insights you might share with members. Here’s the Call for Papers

The first issue of The John Updike Review will arrive in September, with a hard copy mailed to all paid-in-full members (dues statements are on their way). In addition, editor James Schiff announced the sponsorship of The John Updike Review Emerging Writers Prize, which consists of $1000 and publication in the Review.

Anyone 40 years of age or younger is invited to enter. Submissions are open and rolling. Depending upon the quality of submissions, one or more winners will be announced annually.

The John Updike Review is looking for an essay by a young writer or critic that deepens our understanding of the work of John Updike. The writing may be scholarly or belletristic in nature. Academics, critics, graduate students, assistant professors, novelists, poets, and short story writers are encouraged to submit essays, which should be 10 to 30 pages long.

Send submissions via attachment to:  Prof. James Schiff, Editor, The John Updike Review, james.schiff@uc.edu. For more information about the journal, visit the website.

Amazon.com has begun accepting preorders for Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism, edited by Christopher Carduff. Here’s the link.

As we reported earlier, Higher Gossip is divided into five sections:

“Real Conversation” consists of two previously published personal essays, one previously published humorous piece, three previously published short fictions, and six poems (”The Lovelorn Astronomer,” “Basium XVI,” “Head of a Girl, at the Met,” “Cafeteria, Mass. General Hospital,” “An Hour Without Color,” and “Not Cancelled Yet.”

“Book Chat” includes three speeches (”Humor in Fiction,” “The Plight of the American Writer,” and “The Written Word”); tributes to Kierkegaard, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Sissman, and Carver; three forewords/afterwords; and 15 book reviews.

“Gallery Tours” features 20 essays on art, and “Pet Topics” contains three previously published essays on science, six musings on Massachusetts (including “Harvard Square in the Fifties,” “Ipswich in the Seventies,” and “Memoirs of a Massachusetts Golfer”), and five post-Golf Dreams writings on golf.

“Table Talk” is the ephemeral category, including remarks made at book conventions, short musing, forewords, addresses, letters, prefaces, notes, and a humorous piece on “The original ending of Self-Consciousness.

Sylvie Mathé, Professor of American Literature at the Université de Provence, writes that the paper she presented on “Updike’s Lifetime Homage to Pennsylvania” at the Alvernia conference was reformatted as “In Memoriam,” an homage that was recently published in the online journal Transatlantica. Here’s the link to the full-text document.