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Public Sessions Announced

Open sessions are free, require advance registration.
High school teachers seminar on teaching Updike offered on Oct. 1.

September 9, 2010 – READING, Pa., -- 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. In addition, the conference is providing an extraordinary seminar on teaching John Updike for regional high school teachers that includes access to some of the top Updike scholars in the world.

The two free panel discussions — one featuring Updike’s family members on Friday, Oct. 1, and another featuring Updike’s Shillington High School classmates on Saturday, Oct. 2, — will bookend the conference’s keynote address on Oct. 1, given by acclaimed author Ann Beattie, and nationally known painter Lincoln Perry.

The conference takes place Oct. 1-3. Public sessions will be held in the Bernardine Franciscan Conference Center on the Alvernia campus. Seating is limited and those interested in attending must register in advance by calling 610-790-1925 or by emailing holleran.center@alvernia.edu.

Conference events open to the public include:

Updike Family Panel with Mary Weatheral, Elizabeth Cobblah, Miranda Updike, and Michael Updike; James Plath (Illinois Wesleyan University), moderator
Friday, Oct. 1: 10-10:50 a.m.

Keynote speakers Ann Beattie and Lincoln Perry
Friday, Oct. 1: 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Classmates Panel featuring Updike’s Shillington H.S. classmates
Saturday, Oct. 2: 11–11:50 a.m.

Held on Oct. 1, the John Updike Seminar for regional high school teachers hopes to enhance knowledge of the celebrated writer in his home region as well as dispel misconceptions about the difficulty of teaching Updike to high school students and suggest possible texts and strategies for high school use. The seminar will also provide a chance for high school teachers to talk about Updike both with each other and some of the major scholars in the field.

The seminar will offer teachers the opportunity to interact with Updike’s friends and family members, work with leading Updike scholars and attend three specialized pedagogy sessions designed for high school educators. Events will run from 9 am - 5:30 pm, and the registration fee of $25 will include all events, handouts, and brunch. Interested teachers should contact Richard G. Androne, Teacher’s Seminar Co-Program Director, Department of English, Albright College, randrone@alb.edu .

The John Updike Society, formed several months after Updike’s death in January 2009, is devoting its first conference to celebrate the prolific writer’s masterwork, Rabbit, Run, which marks its 50th publishing anniversary in 2010. The novel gave readers the iconic character Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, an American Everyman.

The conference is primarily for members of The John Updike Society, a collection of scholars, critics, and enthusiasts who will share recent research and critical studies. The academic part of the conference includes a tour of local Reading sites important to Updike and his fiction and requires membership in the society. For information on how to join the society, and for full conference details, visit alvernia.edu/johnupdike.

ALVERNIA is a fast growing Franciscan university, grounded in the Catholic and liberal arts traditions, that combines diverse academic opportunities with personal attention and an unmatched commitment to community service. Situated on a scenic 121-acre suburban campus in historic Berks County, Pa., the university is conveniently located near Philadelphia (60 miles) and within an easy drive of New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. With a College of Arts and Sciences and College of Professional Studies, Alvernia offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and minors including pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, law, and veterinary medicine. The university also provides a range of graduate programs at the master’s and doctoral levels through its School of Graduate Education and Continuing Studies.

The John Updike Society is comprised of members from 11 countries. Among its members are scholars, college professors, college students, high school and middle school teachers, book collectors, and the “just plain readers” that Updike had in mind when he wrote his novels. Their mission is to promote awareness of John Updike’s works.