Author Ron Hansen gives reading, lecture

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Morgan Jackson / The Bison

Pictured: Dr. Brent Newsom, author Ron Hansen and Dr, Benjamin Myers come to OBU as this years guest for Visiting Writer’s Seminar.

Morgan Jackson

Arts Editor

Oct. 7-8, bestselling author Ron Hansen came to OBU as part of the Visiting Writers Seminar.

Monday night, Hansen gave a reading of some of his works, followed by a time of questions and answers, a book signing and reception.

The next day, Hansen gave a lecture in Stavros Hall titled, “Making Things Up,” which explores creativity and writing.

All events were free and open to the public.

Ron Hansen is an author of critical acclaim. His novel “Atticus” was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award.

He has written numerous novels, as well as stories, es- says, a children’s book, and more.

Since 2016, OBU English Department has been bring- ing nationally acclaimed writers to campus. The Visit- ing Writers Seminar is organized by the creative writing faculty at OBU: Dr. Brent Newsom, associate professor of English, and Dr. Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis Professor of Literature, and professor of literature and English.

In an OBU press release from August 30, 2019, Dr. Brent Newsom discussed Ron Hansen and his works.

“Ron Hansen is among the foremost Christian writers publishing fiction for a general audience today, and he is especially acknowledged for his accomplishments in the genres of historical fiction and literary Westerns,” Newsom said.

“Like Flannery O’Connor or Walker Percy in the 20th century, his Catholic faith shapes all his work, whether in his depictions of a world riven by vice, of moments of transcendent beauty and mystery, or, most characteristically, of a deeply incarnational mixture of the two. In my own fiction classes, I often have students read excerpts from his book, ‘A Stay Against Confusion: Essays on Faith and Fiction.’”

The Visiting Writer Seminar brings a unique learning opportunity to OBU students and faculty.

“Mr. Hansen’s many awards attest to the respect he has won as a literary artist, and his visit to OBU represents an outstanding opportunity for our students, faculty and staff, as well as the Shawnee community, to learn from a living master of the craft of fiction. I’m thrilled that we are able to bring a writer of his stature to OBU,” Newsom said.

Each year, faculty chooses an author or poet to bring to OBU as part of the Visiting Writer Seminars.

“We get together and talk about ‘If we could bring any- one, who would we bring?’ and then we see if we can bring that person,” Myers said.

Hansen’s works have a wide appeal.

“Ron Hansen is a novelist who appeals to a lot of people because he writes, often, historically-based fiction, sometimes westerns. He’s really got some great, great westerns.

But also, he wrote a novel about Gerard Manley Hop- kins, a great poet. So, we felt like he’s a writer whose spiritual themes and his historical imagination makes him a really good fit for OBU,” Myers said.

The Visiting Writer Seminars are made possible by funds given by very generous donors.

“All of the Visiting Writer money comes from donation. We have several people, some OBU graduates, have been very generous in sup- porting the Visiting Writers program,” Myers said.

According to the OBU press release, “Financial support for the Visiting Writ- er Seminars is being raised through the University Advancement office to continue bringing excellent writers to OBU’s campus.

Through the gift of generous alumni donors, a matching gift up to $5,000 per year was pledged beginning in 2017 and running through May 2020.

The $5,000 level was reached in the first year, enabling the program to continue to grow. Donations may be given through May 31, 2020, to participate in this gift matching opportunity.”

 

 

 

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