Montgomery College to Host 17th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference October 26
Montgomery College will host the 17th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference on Saturday, October 26, 2013, in the Theatre Arts Arena at the Rockville Campus, located at 51 Mannakee Street. The conference, which runs 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., features a full day of seminars and writing workshops, book signings, screenings of the movie The Great Gatsby, and award ceremonies. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler will receive the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. The award ceremony begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The program will feature a talk by R. Clifton Spargo entitled “The Lost Trip of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, or, How to Build a Novel from 'Hole in History.' ” Spargo recently published the novel Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, which The Washington Post praised as “the one version of the story that resists the temptation to glamorize Scott [Fitzgerald] and Zelda out of their humanity.”
Attendees of the festival can also view screenings of the 1949 and 1974 films of The Great Gatsby, followed by a panel discussion entitled “Which is the Greater Gatsby?” The panel, moderated by Michael Dirda and featuring prominent area cinema experts Murray Horwitz, Bob Mondello and Jane Horwitz, will compare the 1974 and 1949 versions with the most recent 2013 Baz Luhrmann film. Additional offerings that day include writing workshops taught by E. Ethelbert Miller (memoir), James Grady (mystery/thriller), Merrill Leffler (poetry) and Alan Cheuse (fiction); a writing workshop taught by Robert Olen Butler; the announcement of the winners of the annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest; and a reading by Robert Olen Butler.
Robert Olen Butler is the author of 14 novels, six books of short stories, and a collection of his lectures on the creative process, From Where You Dream. His first volume of short stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The 14 stories are narrated by a different Vietnamese immigrant living in Louisiana, a location chosen because of the similarities of its climate and terrain to their native country. His work has been translated into 19 languages and he has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two National Magazine Awards in Fiction and two Pushcart Prizes. His newest novel, The Star of Istanbul, was recently published by Mysterious Press.
Registration fee for the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival is $40. If participants wish to take part in a guided tour of Fitzgerald’s life in Rockville, they may do so for an extra $10. To register for the festival activities and for more information call 301-309-9461 or visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/fsfitzgeraldconference.
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference was founded in 1996 to commemorate the 100th birthday of celebrated American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. His paternal ancestors were from Montgomery County, and he, his wife Zelda and their daughter Scottie are buried in the cemetery of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Rockville. Based on the suggestion of a group of Rockville citizens, the event has been co-sponsored from its inception by the City of Rockville, Montgomery College, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.
Since 1996, recipients of the Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature have included many of America’s most distinguished writers, all of whom have been present to accept: 1996: William Styron; 1997: John Barth; 1998: Joyce Carol Oates; 1999: E. L. Doctorow; 2000: Norman Mailer; 2001: Ernest J. Gaines; 2002: John Updike; 2003: Edward Albee; 2004: Grace Paley; 2005: Pat Conroy; 2006: Jane Smiley; 2007: William Kennedy; 2008: Elmore Leonard; 2009: Julia Alvarez; 2010: Alice McDermott; 2011: Maxine Hong Kingston. Taken as a group, festival award recipients have earned 11 Pulitzer Prizes.
Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.