Twelfth Annual Villanova Literary Festival Kicks Off Jan. 26

Speakers include fiction writer and 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, Anthony Swofford, author of the Gulf War memoir Jarhead

For Immediate Release
Jan. 12, 2010

VILLANOVA, Pa., Jan. 12, 2010 – A diverse group of renowned writers will give readings during the Villanova University Department of English’s 12th Annual Literary Festival, a semester-long celebration of literature featuring six novelists and poets from across the globe.

Guests include 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Elizabeth Stout and Anthony Swofford, whose Gulf War memoir, Jarhead, became a major motion picture in 2005. All of the authors will read from their work during the festival events, which are free and open to the public. Each of the following readings will take place at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception and book-signing:

Jan. 26: Fiction writer and 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout
Feb. 11: Fiction writer Arthur Phillips
Feb. 18: Fiction writer Anthony Swofford
April 13: Poet Ange Mlinko
April 20: Poet Peter Fallon with Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney (in conjunction with Irish Studies)

On Jan. 26, Elizabeth Strout will read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short fiction, Olive Kitteridge, a collection of connected short stories about a woman and her immediate family and friends on the coast of Maine, in the Radnor St. Davids Room of The Connelly Center. Strout is the author of Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Arthur Phillips is the featured guest on Feb. 11, reading from his fourth novel, The Song Is You, in the DeLeon Room 300 of the St. Augustine Center for the Arts and Sciences. His first novel, Prague, a national bestseller, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was a national and international bestseller and was on more than a dozen “Best of 2004” lists. Angelica, his third novel, was a national bestseller and made The Washington Post best fiction of 2007. His work has been translated into 25 languages.

On Feb. 18, Anthony Swofford will give a reading from his best-selling novel Jarhead, the Gulf War memoir made into a major motion picture in 2005, in the President’s Lounge of The Connelly Center. Swofford is also the author of Exit A. He served in a U.S. Marine Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon during the first Gulf War. After the war, he was educated at the University of California, Davis and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has taught at Lewis & Clark College and Saint Mary's College. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, the Guardian and other publications. He is currently at work on another novel.

Ange Mlinko will read from her book of poetry, Shoulder Season, on April 13 in the First Floor Lounge of Falvey Library. Mlinko is the author of two books, Matinees and Starred Wire, which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award. Born in Philadelphia and currently living in Lebanon, she has taught poetry at Brown University, the Naropa University Summer Writing Program and Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Her poems are about urban life, language and its failings, and the things we see and do not see. Often compared to Frank O’Hara, The New Yorker has praised her “unique sense of humor and mystery.”

Peter Fallon and Seamus Heaney will read respectively from their books of poetry News of the World and Opened Ground on April 20. This event is co-sponsored by the Irish Studies Program and will require advanced purchase of tickets. Ticket and location information TBA. Fallon is a poet and the founder of The Gallery Press, which is recognized as Ireland’s pre-eminent literary publishing house. His collections of poems include The Speaking Stones, Winter Work, The News and Weather, Eye to Eye and The Deerfield Series: Strength of Heart. He received the 1993 O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute and has been Poet in Residence at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. In the spring of 2000, he was the inaugural Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University, which conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate. Heaney’s first collection, Death of a Naturalist, appeared more than 40 years ago. Since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations that have established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

For more information about the Villanova Literary Festival, please contact the Department of English at (610) 519-4630.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University exists to provide an atmosphere of responsible learning to a varied group of students who will be called to intellectual, moral, and professional leadership. To fulfill these goals, the College seeks to promote intellectual curiosity and rigor within the University; to instill the fundamentals of critical insight, mature judgment, and independent thinking in its students; and to awaken in its students a sense of the importance of values and the moral responsibility of caring for others and working for the betterment of society.

The mission of the Department of English in the College is based on the belief that skillful, self-conscious reading, writing, and thinking form the foundation for a well-examined life well-lived. The department seeks to develop rigorous yet creative forms of analysis and expression that help students comprehend their own and others’ cultures and values. As teachers, students, and scholars, the Department of English aspires to create a community that celebrates imaginative approaches to living and explores language’s and literature’s potential to order and transform the world.

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others. A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered through the University’s four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.