Master Class with Playwright Tina Howe Highlights Southern Literary Festival at Lipscomb University in March

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Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Tina Howe (her Painting Churches was a 1984 finalist for the prize and Pride's Crossing was a Pulitzer finalist in 1997), and Mark Richard, the author of the best-selling House of Prayer No. 2, will be among the special guests at this year's Southern Literary Festival, held March 29-31 on the Lipscomb University campus in Nashville.

The 2012 Southern Literary Festival, held in Nashville for the first time, will "capture the spirit of the modern, urban South," with a focus on the intersection between literature, images and music. Featured guests include poet Mark Jarman of Vanderbilt University, Nashville songwriter Brad Crisler and graphic novelist Eric Powell, creator of The Goon.

Howe, winner of the 2005 William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater (named for the acclaimed American playwright who studied at George Peabody College in Nashville and who, reputedly, participated in the city's burgeoning theater scene at the time), will conduct a free master class as well as participate in a talk-back after Lipscomb Theatre's opening night production of her play Pride's Crossing on March 30.

Powell will present artwork in Lipscomb's John C. Hutcheson Gallery, along with other works including one by Roy Lichtenstein, beginning on March 26. 

The Southern Literary Festival was established 75 years ago as a way to celebrate arts in the South and to allow undergraduate writers in the South to have access to the leading writers of our time. The festival will also feature various opportunities for the public to hear these critically acclaimed authors and composers in master classes and workshops.

All festival events take place on the Lipscomb University campus.

Ka-Pow! Comics and Cartoons in Contemporary Culture: Featuring Eric Powell, creator of The Goon Opening reception: Monday, March 26, 6 p.m., at the John C. Hutcheson Gallery, the Hughes Center. Gallery Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission, call (615) 966-5813 for details.

The John C. Hutcheson Gallery presents Ka-Pow! Comics and Cartoons in Contemporary Culture, featuring the work of several graphic artists including Eric Powell, creator of "The Goon," Lipscomb alumni Nate Creekmore and Jim Jinkins, Mitch Breitweiser of Marvel Comics, Phillipe Perreno and a work by Roy Lichtenstein. The gallery will be decked out in over-the-top comic book style for this exciting exhibition. The show continues through April 12.

Master class with Brad Crisler: Thursday, March 29, 2 p.m., and Saturday, March 31, 9 a.m.
Both sessions held in the Ezell Center, room 363. Admission is free. Questions? Call (615)966-5150

Crisler came to the country music scene in 1996. He has written songs for many country music stars including, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGRaw, Rascal Flatts, Brooks and Dunn, and Aaron Tippin. His song "Whatever Comes First," recorded by Sons of the Desert, set the record for the longest charting single in Epic Records history and won an ASCAP award for most performed country song. Crisler has won many ASCAP Awards including, one for "Sweet Southern Comfort," recorded by Buddy Jewell and most performed song in 2007 for "Hillbilly Deluxe" performed by Brooks and Dunn.

The Landiss Lecture presents Mark Richard: Thursday, March 29, 7:30 p.m. The Ezell Center, Swang Chapel. Free admission; call (615) 966-5837 with questions.

Lipscomb University's Landiss Lecture Series and the Southern Literary Festival present a talk by Mark Richard, critically acclaimed author of House of Prayer No. 2, is also the author of two award-winning short story collections, The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Charity and a bestselling novel Fishboy. He is the recipient of many awards including the New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship award, National Magazine Award for Fiction and the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award.

House of Prayer No.2, an autobiography about his struggle to overcome a birth defect and find his place in the world, was listed on many critics' lists of the best nonfiction books of 2011. A native of Louisiana, Richard has served as a visiting writer-in-residence at the University of California Irvine, University of Mississippi, Arizona State University, the University of the South, Sewanee and The Writer's Voice in New York. He has also been a correspondent for the BBC.

Poetry Reading by Mark Jarman: Friday, March 30, 9:30 a.m. at The Ezell Center, Swang Chapel. Free admission; for details, call (615) 966-5150

Winner of the Poet's Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Jarman is author of  14 collections of poems and essays, including The Black RivieraQuestions for Ecclesiastes, Epistles and, most recently, has published a collection of selected poems in Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems. He is the Centennial Professor in English and director of the creative writing program at Vanderbilt University.

Master Class with Eric Powell, Creator of The Goon: Friday, March 30, 3 p.m. at The Ezell Center, Swang Chapel. Admission is free; for more information, call (615) 966-5150

Five-time Eisner Award winner Powell is an innovator in comics. He has worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Incredible Hulk, Star Wars Tales, The Avengers, MAD Magazine and Action Comics as well as other leading comics titles. He is currently working with acclaimed director David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club) on developing a film adaptation of The Goon. Several of Powell's works will be shown at the John C. Hutcheson Gallery on campus during the festival.

Talk-Back with Tina Howe at Lipscomb Theatre's performance of Pride's Crossing: Friday, March 30, Shamblin Theatre. Performance at 7 p.m., Talk-Back at 9:30 p.m. Cost of performance: $15 for individuals, $10 for faculty, and $5 for students. Talk-back after the show is free. Tickets: Allen Arena Box Office (Limited seating available), (615)966-7075.

Pride's Crossing playwright Howe will be a guest at the performance and will participate in a special post-performance talk-back. A ticket is required to view the performance, but the post-show talk-back is free and open to the public.

Pride's Crossing was named Best American Play by the New York Drama Critics Circle and a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In the play, which is directed by Beki Baker, 90-year-old Mabel Tidings Bigelow insists on celebrating her daughter and granddaughter's annual visit with an archaic croquet party. As it unfolds, she relives vignettes from the last 80 years that subtly interweave past and present to reveal the precise moment of opportunity lost and love rejected that define her life. Her Boston blue blood family expected daughters to applaud from the sidelines, but Mabel had one shining moment of achievement: she was the first woman to swim the English Channel.

The play will show March 29-30 & April 5-6 at 7 p.m., March 31 and April 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Master class with Tina Howe: Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright of Pride's Crossing, on Saturday, March 31, 9 a.m. in the Shamblin Theatre. Free admission; call (615) 966-5150 for further information.

Howe, author of Pride's Crossing and Painting Churches, will discuss six, 10-minute plays selected from works submitted by Lipscomb University students. Lipscomb actors will read the six plays, and Howe will give feedback on each.

A two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Howe has been a visiting professor at Hunter College since 1990 and is playwright-in-residence of the new Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in Playwriting. Among her many awards are an Obie for distinguished playwriting, a Tony nomination for best play, an Outer Circle Critics Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award,  two honorary degrees and the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre. 

Panel Discussion on the Art of Storytelling, featuring Mark Richard and Eric Powell, on Saturday, March 31, 10:30 a.m. in The Ezell Center, room 301. Free admission, call (615) 966-5150

The Southern Literary Festival presents a panel discussion featuring critically acclaimed author Mark Richard and graphic novelist Eric Powell.

Richard, author of House of Prayer No.2, an autobiography about his struggle to overcome a birth defect and find his place in the world, was listed on many critics' lists of the best nonfiction books of 2011.

Five-time Eisner Award winner Powell is an innovator in comics. He has worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Incredible Hulk, Star Wars Tales, The Avengers, MAD Magazine and Action Comics as well as other leading comics titles. He is currently working with acclaimed director David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club) on developing a film adaptation of The Goon.

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


 
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