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  • Mark Canada

America's Writers: Works, Quirks, and Jerks

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Mark will return to IU's Mini University in June, this time to deliver a two-hour talk on "America's Writers: Works, Quirks, and Jerks." Drawing on his experience as a reader, teacher, and scholar of American literature, Mark will take listeners "behind the lines" to explore the inspiring, infuriating, fascinating, funny, winsome, just plain weird stories behind the American classics. Here's a description:


Meet Emily Dickinson, whose idiosyncratic, enigmatic poems would have to wait decades before finding an audience. Watch Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, and Stephen Crane as they live the experiences that they would translate into masterpieces such as "Life on the Mississippi" and "The Open Boat." Eavesdrop on the witty (and sometimes savage) conversations of Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Learn what inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her powerful novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, how Truman Capote distilled years of research into the gripping “nonfiction novel” "In Cold Blood," and how the eccentric savant Thomas Wolfe magically churned out piles of prose in a single sitting (or standing). In the end, you will come away with a richer understanding of not only the writers, but also their works and the art of writing.


"America's Writers: Works, Quirks, and Jerks" is scheduled for 9-11 a.m. June 14. To register for Mini University, which features many other lectures by other experts, visit https://alumni.iu.edu/events/mini-u/index.html.


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