October 14, 2014

Dear Thomas Wolfe Friends,

It is my great pleasure to send greetings to you—and to anticipate celebrating with you on May 22-24, 2015, in Albany, New York, the 37th meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society. Please see below details about making reservations at the Albany Hilton, as well as the enclosed call for papers.

It seems so recently that we enjoyed our 36th meeting in Chapel Hill on Wolfe’s “magical campus.” Vice President Mark Canada did a spectacular job putting together a memorable weekend with perhaps the most consistently excellent papers I can recall ever hearing–including three presentations by international Wolfe scholars and half of the program delivered by young Wolfeans making their debut at a TWS meeting. Special presentations by Pulitzer Prize winner Ed Yoder, North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, and Red Clay Rambler Bland Simpson complemented an already rich program. Local Events Coordinator Bob Anthony and his committee provided a Carolina welcome that will surely go down in the record books somewhere beside Coach Dean Smith’s accomplishments. A special thanks is due to Nami Montgomery and Evan Smits for conference planning and coordination of new TWS presentation technology. Paul Carr and Janice McCullagh were elected to the TWS Board of Directors, and Michael Mills was reelected to the Board. Terry Roberts has been named to the Gitlin Prize Committee. After fourteen years of dedicated service, Alice Cotten has stepped down as chair of the TWS Publications Committee, to be replaced by David Strange.

We awarded this year the first John Robert Bittner Student Literary Prize to Sara Ellen Flores, to support her travel to the 36th TWS Conference, where she presented her filmic treatment of Wolfe’s fiction, “Thomas Wolfe’s Cinematic Storytelling.” The 2014 Thomas Wolfe Student Travel Grant in Honor of Richard S. Kennedy went to Jedidiah Evans for his paper “Thomas Wolfe, Transnationalism, and the (Really) Deep South.” The 2014 Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary Prize was awarded to David Radavich for “Thomas Wolfe’s Expressionism and the Party at Jack’s,” published in the 2013 issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review. Michael Houck is the recipient of the 2014 Aldo P. Magi Grant in Aid of Independent Research to support his travel to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, where he will research manuscripts of radio adaptations of Wolfe’s work. Tom Rash has been awarded a special grant in support of his work on a documentary film about Thomas Wolfe.

If you were a TWS member in 2013, you no doubt received this year’s special publication, Out of the West: Notes from Thomas Wolfe’s Final Western Journey, so beautifully and painstakingly edited by Mark Canada with Nami Montgomery and Savanna Fowler. You also will have received the 37th volume of The Thomas Wolfe Review, the inaugural issue under our new editor, Paula Gallant Eckard. Abundant thanks go to Paula and her staff, especially David Strange and Joe Bentz, for bringing together such an extraordinary issue, full of cutting-edge Wolfe scholarship and the most current news.

This is indeed an exciting era for Wolfe studies. In addition to these scholarly efforts, TWS members are poised to facilitate a Wolfean revival encouraged in part by the forthcoming production of a major motion picture, Genius, based on the book by A. Scott Berg, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. The film, even more than the book, will focus on the relationship between Wolfe and Perkins. The acclaimed cast will include Jude Law as Wolfe, Colin Firth as Perkins, Nicole Kidman as Wolfe’s lover Aline Bernstein, Laura Linney as Louise Sanders, Perkins’s wife, and Guy Pearce and Dominic West as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Genius will be the first film by lauded stage director Michael Grandage, with a screenplay by John Logan. For updates about Genius, please visit the Thomas Wolfe Facebook page.

You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to view our page. When you visit this website (www.thomaswolfe.org) just click the Facebook icon on the top right. If you are a Facebook member and you see a post you enjoy, please SHARE it. TWS Archivist and Webmaster Deb Borland has done amazing work here in the past year to further bring Thomas Wolfe and the Wolfe Society into the digital age. She reports that we started this year with a few hundred Facebook “friends,” and we are now closing in on 1,000 with friends viewing the site from more than two dozen countries! The TWS Facebook page includes regular postings and sharing of news related to Wolfe and TWS, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, southern literature, and literary contests. Some new features on the site include photo albums of places Wolfe visited and ships on which Wolfe traveled, vintage postcards from Asheville and the Old Kentucky Home, images of foreign editions of Wolfe publications and the many covers of their American publications. Of course, regular news updates are also posted here on the TWS website, and from there you can follow additional news on Pinterest and Flickr.

CALLING ALL WOLFEAN POETS! The TWS is seeking poems about Thomas Wolfe for an anthology to be published in late 2015. Poems on any aspect of Wolfe’s life or writings are appropriate. There is no entry fee; membership in TWS is advantageous. The deadline for entries is January 31, 2015. Submit to David Radavich, editor, at daradavich@gmail.com or by snail mail at 6216 Glenridge Road, Charlotte, NC 28211.

On October 21, Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, received the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and delivered the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecture. This gala event was open to the public. It began at 7:30 pm in the Genome Sciences Building of UNC-Chapel Hill.

The 2015 Thomas Wolfe Society Conference will take place May 22-24 in Albany, New York. In addition to a full range of exciting presentations, the Albany conference will feature a boat ride on the Hudson River and a Sunday bus trip down the Hudson River Valley to Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. This year’s theme is “Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression.” Reservations at the Albany Hilton must be made before April 18, 2015, in order to receive the special room rate of $140 per night. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible, by contacting the Albany Hilton at 866-691-1183 and providing our Group Code, 4TWS. I encourage you to view our call for papers and forward your proposals as soon as possible (by January 10) to TWS Vice President Mark Canada. Look for conference updates here on our website. Complete program details will be mailed to TWS membership in March 2015.

Thank you for your unstinting support of the Society and for sharing your enthusiasm for the work of Thomas Wolfe. I look forward to seeing you in Albany!

Warmest regards,

George Hovis, President                                             Contact me at:

Thomas Wolfe Society                                                george.hovis@oneonta.edu