Public Sessions Announced

Open sessions are free, require advance registration

As the first biennial John Updike Society Conference at Alvernia University begins to take shape, three major sessions have been opened to the public, free of charge, including the conference keynote lecture. Read More

Keynote Speakers Announced

Ann Beattie, Lincoln Perry to speak at conference

Acclaimed author Ann Beattie and nationally recognized painter Lincoln Perry will serve as the keynote speakers for Updike in Pennsylvania: The First Biennial John Updike Society Conference at Alvernia University, October 1-3. Read More

Inaugural Updike Conference announced

Event will promote study of author’s literature and life

It seems only fitting that Updike scholars will return to the simple small town of John Updike’s childhood to gather for an international conference that celebrates his work. Such an honor is typically reserved for only the most revered authors, like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Many believe Updike belongs in that company. And so next fall the literary world will focus on Reading, Pa., where Updike was born and raised, for the very first John Updike Society Biennial Conference. Read More

Conference Returns 'Rabbit' to his Roots

Pennsylvania played large role in Updike’s work, life

John Updike, who often spoke of “the proud State of Pennsylvania from which I come,” was born in West Reading, raised in Shillington for the first 13 years of his life, and lived on the family farm in Plowville until he left to attend college at Harvard, spending three summers working as a copy boy for the Reading Eagle. The first Updike Society Conference will use the Berks County, Pa., area where Updike spent his early years as the backdrop for the biennial gathering of scholars, critics, and enthusiasts who will share recent research and critical studies of the author’s work. Read More

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. Read More

About John Updike: Did you know?

• The New York Times proclaimed Updike America’s last true man of letters, because he was the most prominent writer of his generation who was equally prolific and respected as a critic.

• Two presidents have honored Updike: George H.W. Bush, with a National Medal of Arts in 1989, and George W. Bush with a National Humanities Medal in 2003.

• Twice Updike won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (for Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest), joining Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner as one of only three American writers to earn that distinction.

• Updike promised himself as an aspiring writer that he would produce a book a year. His first book, The Carpentered Hen (and Other Tame Creatures) was published in 1958, the same year that Alvernia was founded; Knopf published his 63rd and 64th books (Endpoint and Other Poems, My Father’s Tears and Other Stories) posthumously in 2009.