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Ouachita Stories


Nationally acclaimed author to visit Ouachita on March 3

February 24, 2009 - Rebecca Stone

National Book Award finalist Salvatore Scibona will be visiting the campus of Ouachita Baptist University March 3 for a public book reading and signing of his novel “The End.”

The book reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Hickingbothom Hall’s Young Auditorium with the signing immediately following. Scibona will be reading a chapter from his book as well as fielding questions from the audience and offering advice to aspiring writers.

Dr. Johnny Wink, Betty Burton Peck Professor of English at OBU, urges students to take advantage of this event, saying, “The opportunity to listen to the book’s author read from it is a golden one.”

It took Scibona 10 years to finish “The End,” his first book. The novel, which is about a single day in 1952 as lived by six people in an Ohio carnival crowd, has received national critical acclaim.

Annie Dillard, the author of “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” called it “a masterful novel set amid racial upheaval in 1950s America during the flight of second-generation immigrants from their once-necessary ghettos. Full of wisdom, consequence and grace, Salvatore Scibona’s radiant debut brims with the promise of a remarkable literary career, of which ‘The End’ is only the beginning.”

Before the reading, Scibona will be involved in other activities on OBU’s campus. He will visit Dr. Amy Sonheim’s creative writing class at 11 a.m. and Dr. Mary Beth Long’s American novels class at 12:30 p.m. At 3:15 p.m. Scibona will be challenging student teams to games of Trivial Pursuit in the campus’ Starbucks restaurant.

 “I do not think I would have a dog’s chance against this bright young man in Trivial Pursuit,” Wink said.

The prestigious National Book Awards are presented each year by the National Book Foundation in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature. According to foundation officials, the mission of the foundation and the annual awards, begun in 1950, is “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.” This year more than 1,200 books were nominated for the awards, 271 of those in the category of fiction. Five are chosen as finalists in each category.

OBU’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Humanities, department of English and Dr. Johnny Wink are hosting Scibona’s visit. “The End” is published by Graywolf Press and distributed by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. To find out more about Scibona’s time at Ouachita, look for an upcoming article in “The Signal,” OBU’s weekly student newspaper, as well as online at www.obusignal.com.


by Rebecca Stone



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