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English Dept. Will Host Aficionados of WWII-era Novelist James Jones Oct. 7-9
For release: Sept. 27, 2005
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The James Jones Literary Society's 2005 national symposium will be held in Memphis the weekend of Oct. 7-9. Co-sponsored by the University of Memphis English Department, the focus of the symposium will be Whistle, the final novel in Jones's trilogy. The symposium is free and open to the public.

The weekend's activities will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Kaylie Jones, the novelist's daughter and author of A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, will give a reading for the public and students in the U of M's Patterson Hall, Room 456.

The Oct. 8 symposium will be held in the Continental Ballroom at the Peabody Hotel. The Society's annual business meeting is scheduled from 9-9:50 a.m. The formal program will begin at 10 a.m., when Kaylie Jones will present an overview on her father's life and his career as a writer.

At 11 a.m., Dr. Judith Everson, retired English professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield and past president of the Society, will present a scholarly review of Whistle.

At 1:15, the 2005 James Jones Literary Society First Novel Fellowship, carrying a $10,000 prize, will be awarded. More than 600 entries were received this year. Ten of the previous 13 award winners have had novels published following their selection.

Following the award presentation and a short reading, Dr. Michael Lennon, retired vice president of Wilkes University, will deliver a scholarly interpretation of the James Jones trilogy – From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle. Lennon co-authored The James Jones Reader and has served as president of the Society.

From 2 to 3:30 p.m. there will be a panel presentation titled "Return of Wounded Soldiers Portrayed in Literature." Tom Wood, Society newsletter editor and archivist at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will serve as moderator. Featured presenters will include Ray Elliott, a guest lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and publisher of Tales Press. Elliott is also a past Society president and is the author of Wild Hands Raised to the Sky and the soon-to-be-released Iwo Blasted Again at Sundown.

Joining the panel from Chicago is Larry Heinemann, author of the acclaimed novels Close Quarters and Paco's Story, which was the winner of the National Book Award. He also recently released Black Virgin Mountain: A Return to Vietnam. Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July, is tentatively planning to participate on the panel.

All the published authors attending the symposium will be invited to a book-signing in the conference hall lobby at 3:30.

A reception will be held in a Celebrity Suite that evening for Society members and guests.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, at 11:30 a.m., there will be an interpreted tour of selected sites at the former Kennedy Hospital, which is now the University of Memphis 's South Campus, at the corner of Park and Getwell. Jones's experiences while he was recuperating there provided the basis for many scenes in his novel Whistle.

The James Jones Literary Society was founded in 1991 at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Ill. The organization has nearly 300 members from 34 states and five countries. Each year the organization sponsors a national symposium and returns every three years to Jones's hometown of Robinson for the event.

More information about the James Jones Literary Society, the first Novel Fellowship Award, or the Memphis symposium, is available on the organization's Web site at http://jamesjoneslitsociety.vinu.edu/.

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