February 22, 2000

Joyce Carol Oates to Read from "Blonde" during Literary Symposium at Middlebury College -- Literary Fact and Historical Fiction Symposium to be Held March 3-4

A reading by writer Joyce Carol Oates from her new book "Blonde," a novel based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, is one of the highlights of "Literary Fact and Historical Fiction," a symposium to be held at Middlebury College on Friday, March 3-Saturday, March 4. The symposium also includes a lecture by a leading expert in African-American literature; a panel discussion featuring writers Jay Parini, Julia Alvarez, and David Stoll; and pre-symposium student readings. The events are free and open to the public.

"Literary Fact and Historical Fiction" is one in a series of symposia that are a central part of Middlebury College's current ongoing Bicentennial celebration.

"Voices Aloud," a pre-symposium event, will take place on Thursday, March 2 at 8 p.m. when College students will conduct juried readings from their own works. "Voices Aloud" will take place in the Grand Salon of Le Chateau on the Middlebury College campus, off College Street (Route 125).

On Friday, March 3 at 4:15 p.m., the symposium will officially begin with a lecture, "The Making of Ralph Ellison's 'Juneteenth'" by John Callahan, the Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College. Widely recognized for his work in American and African-American literature, Callahan is the author of "In the African-American Grain: The Pursuit of Voice in Twentieth-Century Black Fiction" and "The Illusions of a Nation: Myth and History in the Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald." He is the literary executor of the estate of African- American writer Ralph Ellison. Recently Callahan edited and brought to publication "Juneteenth," the novel that Ellison had left unfinished at his death. Callahan's talk will take place in Dana Auditorium of Middlebury College's Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).

At 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, a luncheon will take place followed by a discussion titled "Lives, Lies, and Stories" by a panel of writers--Julia Alvarez, Jay Parini, and David Stoll--in Middlebury College's Kirk Alumni Center on Route 30. Brett Millier, Middlebury professor of American literature, will serve as moderator.

Julia Alvarez is the author of three novels: "Yo!;" "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents," which was named a Notable Book by The New York Times in 1991; and "In the Time of the Butterflies," a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1995. She has also published a collection of essays, and two volumes of poetry. Alvarez is a writer-in- residence at the College.

Jay Parini is the author of five novels, including "The Last Station," a book about the death of Tolstoy, and several biographies, including "Robert Frost: a Life" published in 1999. Parini has written a number of books of poetry, and many essays, critical articles, and book reviews in a wide range of scholarly journals and popular magazines, and he has edited numerous volumes--most recently, the "Norton Book of American Autobiography." Parini is currently the D.E. Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury.

David Stoll is the author of five books, and numerous articles on Latin American issues--from religion to land reform. His latest book, published in 1999 and titled "Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans," is a work that questions the authenticity of the events recounted in "I, Rigoberta Menchu," the 1983 memoir written by the Nobel Prize-winner Menchu. Stoll's book touched off a public debate and resulted in numerous stories in newspapers, magazines, and television news programs worldwide. Stoll is an assistant professor of anthropology at the College.

For the final event of the symposium, Joyce Carol Oates, one of the country's leading writers, will read from her new book, "Blonde," a novel based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Oates' reading will begin at 3 p.m. in Middlebury College's Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125), and will be followed by a reception at 4:30 p.m. in the Redfield Proctor Room of Middlebury College's Proctor Hall, also on Hepburn Road.

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of dozens of books of poetry, short stories, essays, and novels, including "A Bloodsmoor Romance;" "Do With Me What You Will;" and "By the North Gate." Her recent publications include "Broke Heart Blues;" "Gemini: an American Epic;" "My Heart Laid Bare;" a book of short stories titled "The Collector of Hearts;" and "New Plays." Currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton, she has won numerous awards for her writing, including the PEN/Malamud Award and a National Book Award for her novel "Them." She recently was nominated for the third time for a Nobel Prize.

All events, including the luncheon and reception, are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

For more information, contact Mona Wheatley in the Middlebury College Bicentennial planning office at 802-443-2000 or

Schedule of Symposium Events:

THURSDAY, MAR. 2 Pre-Symposium Event:

8 p.m. "Voices Aloud." A selection of juried readings conducted by Middlebury College students from their own works. Location: Grand Salon, in Le Chateau off College Street (Route 125), on the Middlebury College campus


4:15 p.m. "The Making of Ralph Ellison's 'Juneteenth,'" a lecture by John Callahan, Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College. Location: Dana Auditorium in Middlebury College's Sunderland Language Center, College Street (Route 125)


12 p.m. Luncheon and panel discussion: "Lives, Lies, and Stories." Panel: authors Julia Alvarez, Jay Parini, David Stoll; Moderator: Brett Millier, Middlebury College professor of American literature. Location: Middlebury College's Kirk Alumni Center, Route 30

3 p.m. Joyce Carol Oates, reading from her work "Blonde." Location: Middlebury College's Mead Chapel, Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

4:30 p.m. Reception for Joyce Carol Oates in the Redfield Proctor Room of Middlebury College's Proctor Hall, Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)