10. This spring’s festival focuses on the memoir, perhaps the most popular type of book published today. Memoirs, or narratives composed of personal experience, allow stories to be shared and passed down. Some of the most popular include “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.
9. Anchee Min, keynote speaker for the festival, learned English by watching “Sesame Street.” She shares her story in her memoir “Red Azalea,” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, published in 32 languages.
8. When Madame Mao was preparing to take over China, she needed an actress for a propaganda film. Her talent scouts spotted Min, laboring in a cotton field, who was chosen for her “proletarian” look. Mao Tse-Tung died before the film was complete; Madame Mao was sentenced to death; and Min was labeled a political outcast, causing her to leave China for America.
7. Love kitty cats? So does Gwen Cooper, who shares her enthusiasm for felines in her books. She invites fans to share a photo of their favorite feline on her web page, and Homer the Blind Wondercat, from her book “Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat,” has his own Facebook page with more than 12,000 likes.
6. Cooper offers these tips for living with a blind cat: Use two litter boxes, consider toys with bells and be neat so your cat can find his way around easily.
5. Author Remica Bingham-Risher is currently working on a poetry book titled “Starlight and Error,” where she compares her poems to music. Among the songs that would be a soundtrack for the book: “Some Nights” by Fun,” “That’s Why They’re Beautiful” by Beyonce and “Baby Be Mine” by Michael Jackson.
4. Tim Seibles, author of five works of poetry and a professor at Old Dominion University, loved football at a young age and initially wanted to “play football and write novels in the offseason.” Several of his poems relate to football and athletics, and he chose to attend Southern Methodist University largely due to its football program.
3. Wade Davis is a former defensive back who played preseason football for the Washington Redskins, the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks. Davis, who kept his sexuality hidden during his athletic career, currently works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute to help struggling LGBTQ youth. His current memoir is titled “Interference.”
2. Student, staff and faculty readings follow most presentations. Remember to stay for their work, too!
1. All readings from the literary festival are free. We’ll see you there!