| Prize-Winning Novelist Reads as Part of Fan Mayhall Gates Series
IN FEBRUARY, APPROXIMATELY 100 people attended the
Fan Mayhall Gates Literary Reading Series at Seattle Pacific University,
this year featuring Southern novelist A.G. Harmon. A regular contributor
to SPU-based Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion,
Harmon read excerpts from his novel
A House All Stilled, which won the Peter
Taylor Prize. Harmon, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, teaches English and
law at The Catholic University of America.
In 1999, SPU colleagues established the reading series to honor Professor Emerita
Gates, who taught English at Seattle Pacific for 36 years. Although technically
retired, Gates keeps her hand in at SPU by leading tours for alumni and Fellows to
Shakespeare festivals in Ashland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The choice of Harmon for this year’s reading
may have been particularly apt, since Gates and Harmon were born in nearby towns.
“When I learned we were both born in the Mississippi hill country only miles apart,”
says Gates, “I felt instant kinship.”
Gates and Harmon also share an appreciation for the work of William Shakespeare
and the writings of Flannery O’Connor. According to Image editor Greg Wolfe,
“Harmon’s precise and evocative prose has religious and symbolic resonances that
O’Connor would recognize and salute.”
“I have no more excuses not to write,” laughs Gates. “This is Harmon’s sixth
novel. He gets up and writes for three hours every single morning.”
Funded by the Fan Mayhall Gates Literary Reading Series Endowment, the annual event
is intended to bring prominent writers to campus. Last year, poet Julia Kasdorf
became the first featured writer in the series. Contributions
to the endowment may be sent to Seattle Pacific’s Office of Annual Giving.
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