Celebrated author Jeff VanderMeer coming to ETSU

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023

Renowned author Jeff VanderMeer is coming to East Tennessee State University later this month.
Dubbed “the weird Thoreau” by The New Yorker, VanderMeer’s work has captured a range of awards. His “Southern Reach” trilogy, a New York Times bestseller, has been translated into over 35 languages. The first novel in the series, “Annihilation,” won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and Paramount made it into a movie in 2018.
“The Bert C. Bach Written Word Initiative is thrilled that we can bring Jeff VanderMeer to ETSU for several exciting sessions,” said Dr. Jesse Graves, the poet-in-residence and a professor of English at ETSU. “This event is exactly the kind of interdisciplinary partnership that Dr. Bach envisioned for our campus, as it brings together Literature and Language, Philosophy, Film Studies and especially the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts.”
He added: “VanderMeer is a major figure in American writing, melding science fiction and horror themes with climate studies and global affairs.”
VanderMeer will be on campus Oct. 25-26.
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, he will offer a question-and-answer roundtable discussion in the Ball Hall auditorium. At 7 p.m., VanderMeer will give a reading in the Brown Hall auditorium. On Thursday, Oct. 26, he will hold a “Creating Imaginative Fiction” session with Dr. Mark Baumgartner, an associate professor of English at ETSU, in room 309 of the Sherrod Library.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., the newly revitalized Bud Frank Theatre will show a screening of “Annihilation,” the film that is based on VanderMeer’s novel of the same name.
All events are free and open to the public.
“Jeff VanderMeer’s visit is a can’t-miss opportunity for our students and community: he is one of our most innovative and bracing practitioners of genre fiction, and he engages with areas of interest to virtually everyone, including science fiction, post-apocalypse, horror, climate fiction, weird fiction and ecological literature,” said Dr. Joshua Reid, associate department chair in English. “His break-out novel ‘Annihilation’ regularly ranks at the top of science fiction books of the 21st century. Reading VanderMeer is one of the most memorable literary experiences you can have – his writing unsettles; it alters your sense of self and place in the world.”
ETSU is home to a thriving arts community, hosting dozens of concerts, exhibitions and events every year.
“The planned events at ETSU give numerous entry points to his diverse work, from film adaptation to writing practice to environmental stewardship,” said Reid. “He is currently writing the fourth novel in his acclaimed ‘Southern Reach’ series, and there is a good chance that we may get a special early preview of it at the reading.”
For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346. For additional information, call (423) 439-4339.

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