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Festival hosts authors during Nov.

Molly Madden | Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Student Union Board hosted author Ben Nugent as a part of the 42nd annual Notre Dame Literary Festival at the LaFortune Student Center Tuesday, which will feature three more authors in addition to a variety of other events throughout the month.

“The purpose of the festival is to bring authors to Notre Dame,” festival programmer Alex Benner said. “The Student Union Board wants to give students access to real-life authors. They also get to see insights into what the literary profession is all about.”

The festival lasts throughout the entire month of November and features authors from across the country as well as Notre Dame student writers. The festival began on Oct. 28 with Student Lit Night, which gives students a chance to showcase their own writing.

“Student Lit Night gives students a chance to present their work to other students,” Benner said. “This year we had about seven or eight students and we featured short stories and poems. We’re open to any type of genre.”

The remainder of the festival features four authors whose appearances are spread out over three weeks. Every author has one day in which they participate in a question and answer session in the afternoon followed by a talk and reading later that night. After the reading, there is a reception where the attendees are able to meet the author and have their books signed.

“We try and get a variety of authors,” Benner said. “Novelists, journalists and short story writers have all been a part of the festival in the past. “

Benner says that the most important thing when selecting authors is to try and bring ones that will be appealing to the Notre Dame community.

“The Student Union Board is looking to bring in authors that the students will find interesting. We hope that the festival generates interest in literature, reading and writing.”

This year’s selection of authors has something for every Notre Dame student.

The first author that spoke at the Montgomery Auditorium in the LaFortune Center Tuesday night was Nugent, who is a journalist and an essayist whose work has appeared in Time and The New York Times Magazine.

Nugent’s most recent work is entitled “American Nerd: The Story of My People.”

“It’s a combo of memoir, history and cultural criticism,” Nugent said. “It has stories of my nerdy childhood and also a history of nerdy people.”

The second author is Rivka Galchen, who will be at the University tomorrow. Galchen is a novelist and the author of “Atmospheric Disturbances,” a novel about doctor whose wife disappears but then meets a woman who not only looks and behaves like his missing wife, but also claims to be her.

On Nov. 12, novelist and short story writer Marisa Silver will be speaking at LaFortune. Silver is the author of the short story collection Babe in Paradise as well as the novels “No Direction Home” and “The God of War.”

The final author is the journalist and novelist Aleksandar Hemon, who will speak on Nov. 17. His latest novel, “The Lazarus Project,” is a finalist for the National Book Award.

Overall, the Student Union Board hopes students who attend the festival will feel the desire to pick up a book.

“I hope that by attending something like this will spur someone to read,” Benner said. “I hope that that the festival encourages them to read for pleasure or even write themselves.”