Michael Updike, a slate sculptor by profession, will travel to Serbia next June for the Fifth Biennial John Updike Society Conference. He will present a special slideshow and talk about the year that his father, John Updike, spent in London with the family after Couples was published. Included will be slides of “side vacations to Morocco, Austria, etc.,” Michael said. The conference themes are Updike abroad and Updike in translation, and 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Couples.
Also featured will be keynote speakers Ian McEwan and Alexander Shurbanov, Updike’s Bulgarian translator. The Fifth Biennial John Updike Society Conference, 1-5 June 2018, will be hosted by the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade. Updike visited Belgrade in 1978 when it was the capital of Yugoslavia. The city, a rising tourist destination, is now the capital of Serbia.
The John Updike Society has been fortunate to have the participation of the Updike family since the very beginning, when, at the First Biennial John Updike Society Conference at Alvernia University in Reading, Pa., Updike’s first wife Mary and three of their children (Elizabeth, Michael, and Miranda) took part in a panel discussion and Q/A. The second conference at Suffolk University in Boston featured an exhibit of objects mentioned in the fiction, presented by Michael and Elizabeth, along with a visit to the house that Updike lived in and a gracious tour provided by Mary, and a walking tour of Ipswich led by Michael. David Updike offered a presentation on “Family Archaeology: pictures, objects, words” at the third conference, held again at Alvernia University in Reading, while at the Fourth Biennial John Updike Society Conference at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., David and Miranda shared slides and memories of their parents’ Ipswich years.
Conference registration will be posted on or shortly after July 8, 2018. A preliminary schedule and other conference-related articles have been previously posted.