SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield's 2007 Verbal Arts Festival will be Saturday, April 21, in the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. Events will range from a luncheon to an original play to a reunion of contributors to the Alchemist Review. All events in this annual celebration of the arts are open to the public.
The festival will begin at noon with a luncheon in the PAC restaurant. Judy Everson, professor emerita of English, will deliver the keynote address titled "When Johnny Comes Marching Home: James Jones' Last Literary Odyssey." Cost for lunch is $5; space is limited and advance registration is required no later than April 10.
All other festival events are presented free and will take place in conference room C/D in the lower level of the PAC.
Following the luncheon, at 1 p.m., The Alchemist Through the Years will kick off festival activities. Several past contributors have been asked to share old and newer works, and all former contributors are invited to attend an informal Alchemist's Reunion.
At 2 p.m. The Verbal Arts Players will present their readers theater production of Four hors d'oeuvres from T.S. Eliot's Cocktail Party. Ethan Lewis, associate professor of English, will direct.
At 3 p.m. Robert McGregor, professor of history, will read an excerpt from Thoreau's Robbery, his novel in progress. McGregor's previous novel, All Fall Down, is a murder mystery set in Duluth, Minnesota, during the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic. His other books include A Wider View of the Universe: Henry Thoreau's Study of Nature and Conundrums for the Long Week-End: England, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Lord Peter Wimsey.
After a brief intermission, CC, an original play written and directed by UIS student Nick Roman, will be presented at 4 p.m. Roman describes CC as a one-act comedy about "life, love, and an elephant on death row." Cast members are UIS students.
A staple of each year's Verbal Arts Festival is the release of the latest edition of campus literary magazine The Alchemist Review. Contributors to the 2007 edition will read their short fiction and poetry beginning at 5 p.m.To make a reservation for the luncheon or for more information about any events in the Verbal Arts Festival, contact Tiffany Elliott, English program graduate assistant, at 206-7460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.