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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Rabbit, Run

Call for papers issued for inaugural society conference

John Updike was born in West Reading and lived with his family at 117 Philadelphia Avenue in Shillington until they moved into a farm home in Plowville. Updike wrote about this farm home in “Pigeon Feathers” and Of The Farm. The school Updike attended as a little boy, at which his father taught, would turn up in The Centaur. When Updike was a child he spent a lot of time at the Reading Public Library, with its “cosmically mysterious” balconies, and the Reading Public Museum, with its Egyptian mummy and other objects that left an impression on Updike. As a young boy Updike worked at the Reading Eagle as a copy boy.

John Updike earned many awards based on the novels written about Pennsylvania. However, Rabbit, Run remains one of John Updike’s best known novels. In the four Rabbit novels, Updike did something unprecedented in American literature: he revisited a character roughly every ten years over the lifetime of the character, and in the process he chronicled American life in the 20th century in greater detail and scope than any of his peers. The power of the Rabbit novels was confirmed by the Pulitzer Prizes that Updike won for Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, making him one of only three American writers ever to win the award twice for fiction.

The First Biennial John Updike Society Conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rabbit, Run. We are interested in scholarly papers that focus on Rabbit, Run and other Rabbit novels but we also welcome proposals on all aspects of Updike’s artistic experience, including Updike’s fiction, poetry, and non-fiction having to do with Pennsylvania. Members and non-members are invited to submit proposals for scholarly papers to be presented at The First Biennial John Updike Society Conference at Alvernia University, October 1-3, 2010.

One or two page proposals are due to the program director Jack De Bellis by March 15, 2010. They proposals should be emailed to bjd1@lehigh.edu. Successful proposals will be acknowledged by March 31, 2010. All the papers that are presented will be considered for the publication by The John Updike Review.