Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Like Not Running Away: Novelist Paul Shepherd Reads from His Fiction, February 8

Chestertown, MD, January 19, 2006 — Washington College's Sophie Kerr Lecture Series presents Paul Shepherd, winner of the 2004 Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction, reading from his newly released novel More Like Not Running Away (Sarabande Books, 2005), Wednesday, February 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room of the Miller Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Shepherd is a Writer in Residence and former Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University, where he earned a Ph.D. with distinction. He attended the University of Virginia, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Greensboro. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Fiction, Omni, Prairie Schooner, William and Mary Review, Folio, Pacific Review, U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony Messenger, Portland Review, The Quarterly, Beloit Fiction,and Maryland Review. He has served as Senior Editor of International Quarterly and has taught college classes in creative writing, magazine and newspaper writing, and modern literature. He speaks on a variety of topics including faith in fiction and the imagination. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Lois, and their three children.

A finalist for the Associated Writing Programs Award in the Novel, the Bakeless Prize, and twice for the James Jones prizes, More Like Not Running Away is the story of Levi Revel, a boy in danger of losing his family and maybe his mind. He is in awe of his father, Everest, a majestic dreamer, a master builder, and a man with a violent, secret past that still haunts the family. As the family moves from state to state, Levi hears solace in the voice of God, a voice that sends him to preach from treetops and roofs. But the family begins to fall apart, and as Levi enters adolescence, he hears more troubling things-other voices, terrifying sounds, warnings.

When Everest takes him on a high-speed cross-country chase to win back Levi's mother, by force if necessary, Levi realizes how much danger they all are in. From a boy lost in a world of imaginary voices and chilling destruction to a young man who can rebuild steeples, laugh, and climb, the story Levi tells is the triumph of persistence and reaching out over moments of isolation and despair.

The reading is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most "ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor" and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.

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