John Updike’s work honored this weekend

    This weekend the late novelist John Updike will be honored, studied, and vetted at the first Updike literary conference. The three-day event for both academics and fans takes place in Reading, where the writer spent his formative years.

    This weekend the late novelist John Updike will be honored, studied, and vetted at the first Updike literary conference. The three-day event for both academics and fans takes place in Reading, where the writer spent his formative years.

    Updike often used the city of Reading under a pseudonym in his novels. The Reading office of tourism says as soon as the writer died last year, people started asking where they could find Updike-related sites around town. The conference includes guided tours of houses, bars, and buildings featured both in Updike’s life and fiction.

    The conference was organized by the newly formed John Updike Society, and will feature discussions about Updike’s most celebrated quartet of novels based on a character named “Rabbit”.  Society president Jim Plath asked Updike if he could form a society in his honor back in the year 2000.

    “He wrote back and said please please please, not in my lifetime. So when he died we were in the middle of trying to get him a Nobel Prize, unfortunately they do not award those posthumously. It deflated us – the next logical thing would be to start a society to perpetuate his literary immortality.”

    Alvernia University will be the repository of the John Updike Society papers, a collection which includes the author’s early fiction and art criticism. The majority of Updike’s papers are archived at his alma mater, Harvard University.

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