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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Food and Sustenance are focus of 2014 ODU Literary Festival that Opens Oct. 6

The Old Dominion University Literary Festival returns Oct. 6-10 for its 37th annual run with a slate of events bringing together celebrated authors from the ODU community and beyond to explore the relationships of food and sustenance in a variety of cultural, poetic and political contexts.

This year's literary festival theme, "The Hungry Heart is Telling You," serves as a jumping off point for the more than 20 authors who will participate.

Presenters include notable Old Dominion faculty members such as Blake Bailey, Luisa Igloria, Phil Raisor and Brian Silberman as well as high profile visitors like President's Lecture Series speaker, and celebrity chef, Jeff Henderson; Virginian Pilot food writer Lorraine Eaton; and the ODU MFA Creative Writing program's fall writer in residence Michael Ruhlman, who has authored several works of nonfiction that center around culinary themes.

"As oceans rise and natural calamities increase in frequency and violence, as wars rage and food and fuel sources reach critical points across the world, we face our individual and collective futures with a greater sense of anxiety," wrote literary festival co-directors Luisa Igloria and Michael Pearson, in a festival introduction. "Besides a deeper kind of nourishment, in poems and stories, songs and art we find the promise of healing energy and inspiration, and the capacity to bring us together in the presence of new and remembered pleasures."

Selected festival highlights

  • Monday, Oct. 6: A reading by Michael Ruhlman will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Old Dominion University Theatre. He is the celebrated author of "House: A Memoir," "The Soul of a Chef," "The French Laundry Cookbook" (with Thomas Keller) and "Ruhlman's Twenty."
  • Tuesday, Oct. 7: President's Lecture Series with Chef Jeff Henderson at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of the Webb Student Center. Henderson will hold a book signing after the lecture. Read more about Henderson's life-path that led from troubled youth, to prison inmate to the executive chef of Café Bellagio in Las Vegas and a New York Times bestselling author here. Prior to Henderson's talk, a MFA alumni panel that includes Dianne Alford, Lorraine Eaton and Dana Staves will be held at 2 p.m. in the Old Dominion University Theatre.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 8: Annia Ciezadlo will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. in the Chandler Recital Hall, of the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts. She has worked as a freelance foreign correspondent in Iraq and Lebanon and is the author of "Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War."
  • Thursday, Oct. 9: Kate Christensen will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. in the Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts. She is the author of six novels, including "The Epicure's Lament," "The Great Man" and "The Astral."
  • Friday, Oct. 10: Jane Hirshfield will give a writer's talk in the Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts. She is the author of several collections of verse that include 2001's "Given Sugar, Given Salt" which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award.

In addition to the many events scheduled in conjunction with the 2014 Old Dominion University Literary Festival, attendees are encouraged to dine with restaurant partners that will contribute 15 percent of sales, from meals on specific dates, to the ODU Educational Foundation to support the ODU MFA Creative Writing Program. Donations may also be sent, with memo designating the Creative Writing Scholarship Fund, to Barbara Henley's attention at the ODU Office of Development: 4417 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23529.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit the 2014 ODU Literary Festival website.

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