Joyce Carol Oates delivered the keynote speech on June 12 as the College of Arts and Sciences hosted the Second Biennial John Updike Society conference June 12-16.
The National Book Award-winning author spoke at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University.
Oates and Updike, both prolific authors, were literary friends. In a remembrance of Updike published in the New Yorker magazine, Oates said that she’d been “reading John’s work since I became an adult and can only content myself with the prospect of rereading his work through the remainder of my life.”
She also teaches Updike’s short stories as a professor in the Humanities Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.
The John Updike Society’s mission is to awaken and sustain reader interest in Updike’s literature and life. To that end the conference featured an array of activities, from a tour of Fenway Park -- described lyrically in an Updike piece on Ted Williams – to academic sessions on themes in Updike’s novels, poetry and essays.
Conferees had access to an exhibit of items mentioned in the literature, on loan from the Updike family and organized by Michael Updike, one of four adult children of the author who discussed the artifacts and his work at a Wednesday-morning session.
Suffolk University English Professor Quentin Miller was the site director for this year’s John Updike Society conference, which was co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.