James Agee Celebration Concludes with Music and Lectures

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RB Morris

RB Morris

KNOXVILLE — The James Agee Centennial Celebration, a monthlong series of events marking the 100th birthday of the Knoxville native and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist, author and poet, concludes this weekend with an evening of music at Laurel Theater and lectures at the UT University Center Ballroom and the Knox County downtown public library.

“One Last Weekend with Jim” begins Friday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. at Laurel Theater, 1538 Laurel Ave., with an evening of music by Knoxville singer, songwriter, musician, playwright, poet and actor RB Morris. Tickets are $6 for children 12 and under and $10 for students, seniors and Jubilee Community Arts members at the door. General admission tickets are $11 with advance purchase and $12 at the door.

Michael Lofaro, the UT Knoxville English professor and Agee scholar who organized the monthlong series, will speak at the College of Arts and Sciences’ Pregame Faculty Showcase Saturday, Nov. 21. In the University Center ballroom two hours before kickoff of the UT-Vanderbilt football game, Lofaro will discuss “James Agee at One Hundred: A Centennial Celebration.” The free presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The final event of the weekend will be a lecture by UT Knoxville journalism and electronic media professor Paul Ashdown on “Agee’s Apocrypha: The Lost Writings on Love and Letters,” 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Knox County Public Library, 314 West Clinch Ave. This event is free and open to the public.

Born on Nov. 27, 1909, in a home on Highland Avenue near James Agee Street, Agee spent the first seven years of his life in Knoxville before leaving town to attend boarding school. He returned to Knoxville for a year of high school and then left again, eventually graduating from Harvard University.

Agee went on to write for magazines such as Time, Life, Fortune and The Nation. He wrote the screenplays for the films “The African Queen” and “The Night of the Hunter,” and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his book “A Death in the Family.”

Lofaro is the author of “A Death in the Family: A Restoration of the Author’s Text,” which is Volume 1 of the new 10-volume series “The Works of James Agee,” published by the University of Tennessee Press. Lofaro, general editor of the series, is the Lindsay Young Professor of American Literature and American and Cultural Studies at UT.

“Our goal for this series of events was to celebrate Agee’s life and work,” Lofaro said. “Agee was a poet, novelist, journalist, essayist, film reviewer, screenplay writer and cultural critic — and brought a unique voice and sensibility to everything he wrote.”

For more information on the Agee Centennial Celebration, visit http://web.utk.edu/~english/news/agee100.html.

C O N T A C T :

Michael Lofaro (865-974-4928, mlofaro@utk.edu)

Charles Primm (865-974-5180, primmc@utk.edu)

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