“If only Thomas Wolfe could see us now…”
If you attended the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Lecture in Chapel Hill a few weeks ago, you heard this refrain in my remarks.
It was a lovely October 4th day in 2016 on a vibrant college campus, and hundreds of lovers of literature had turned out for a lecture named for Wolfe, a lecture to be delivered by Jill McCorkle, another Carolina graduate with much in common with him. View our Facebook photo album of the celebration.
Wolfe, a naturally exuberant man (on a good day anyway), would have been ecstatic, every nerve in him vibrating. If Wolfe himself could not be there, the Wolfe in each of us could be.
For those of you who had to miss it, the lecture was a great success, thanks to the efforts of many, including organizer Susan Irons and, of course, Jill McCorkle herself, who delivered an essay on home and then a new, moving short story called “The Lineman.”
Wolfe, I think, would have been pleased.
All of us in the Thomas Wolfe Society (TWS) owe a special thanks to Ray Walker, who put together a spectacular display of books and posters for the event, and to Jan Hensley and Caroline Keizer, who assisted with the setup.
Their efforts, we hope, can help us kindle any new sparks generated by Genius, the film that debuted this past summer.
I have made a few such efforts of my own. After the premiere, I wrote a column about the real Thomas Wolfe, and it made its way into a number of media outlets.
This fall, I am leading some book club discussions at libraries in Indianapolis, and I have been in touch with IndyReads, a literacy organization, about some programming, as well.
I welcome your suggestions for other ways to promote Wolfe and our society. Please email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If our efforts pay off, we may welcome some new members to our annual TWS meeting in Indianapolis in May 2017.
I’m pleased to report that we will meet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 123 West Louisiana St. (located in an Art Deco-styled railroad shed next to the country’s first Union Station).
The Crowne Plaza has a railroad motif and even some Pullman cars containing guestrooms.
To book a room at the conference rate of $159 per night, call 317.631.2221 and use the group code WOL. Note: Onsite parking is $24/day; valet parking is $36/day.
For a webpage where you can book a room online, email email@example.com.
The annual program is still in the planning stages, but we already have scheduled a screening of Genius, a panel discussion of the film, and a beer tasting at the Rathskeller, a restaurant located at a German club called the Athenaeum.
As for the papers, we will depend once again on the ample talent we regularly find in our members, along with other scholars and admirers of Wolfe and his work.
Vice President Rebecca Godwin has put together a splendid Call for Papers and I encourage you to consider proposing a paper and to help Rebecca spread the word by sharing it among colleagues.
The next issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review, Volume 40, is in the works.
As always, you can expect an attractive publication with fine articles about Wolfe’s work.
The TWS Proceedings will be available in PDF soon for TWS members.
Please recall that we no longer will send hard copies to all members, but you may request the PDF (containing a list of members, information about contributors, lists of awards, etc.) from David Strange (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Deb Borland continues to maintain our web presence. Here’s her update:
“We regularly receive over a thousand comments and likes a week from countries spanning the globe. People enjoy the ability to ask questions, find their favorite Wolfean quote/image, celebrate, bond and keep up-to-date with the latest Wolfean happenings.
“We celebrate the things that make Wolfe great as well as Wolfe family birthdays and anniversaries. We constantly update information, photos, trailers, reviews and more about “Genius” on our Facebook page. We are sure to share when an event, reference or news mention comes out. Want to find out when the next play version of LHA is happening? We keep on top of it. We encourage sharing of ideas and Wolfe news.
“We want to hear from you.
“Help us grow by sharing…news, photos, events, findings and share our Facebook posts to help spread our outreach. Thanks! Deb
The Thomas Wolfe Society membership is healthy.
Please take a minute now to make sure that your TWS membership is in good standing.
If you cannot recall whether you have renewed for this year, please email David Strange (email@example.com), and he will let you know.
I hope to see many of you in Indianapolis in May for another inspiring TWS conference.
President, Thomas Wolfe Society