Rockville will be abuzz with the love of the written word on Saturday, when the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference is held at .
The conference was first held in 1996 to mark the centennial of the birth of the author of American classics like "The Great Gatsby" (1925) and "Tender Is the Night" (1934).
This year’s F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature goes to Maxine Hong Kingston, acclaimed author of "The Woman Warrior," "China Men" and most recently "I Love a Broad Margin to My Life," among other works.
Kingston has received numerous prestigious awards for her work, including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the presidentially-conferred National Humanities Medal and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. She lives in California where for many years she has been a senior lecturer for creative writing at University of California, Berkeley.
Maureen Corrigan will give a keynote talk on "The Great Gatsby." Corrigan is author of the literary memoir "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading!" She also is a book critic for NPR's “Fresh Air,” a reviewer and columnist for The Washington Post's Book World and a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University.
Creative fiction and non-fiction writing workshops will be held throughout the day, as well as literary discussions for book lovers who may not necessarily be writers.
Workshops will include:
- “Mining the Mind for Memories,” with poet, memoirist and teacher E. Ethelbert Miller, the board chairman of the Institute for Policy Studies, director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C.
- “Creating ‘Great’ Characters,” with novelist and journalist Amy Stolls, a literature program officer for the National Endowment for the Arts.
- “Writing Your First Novel: Creative and Practical Advice,” with teacher and novelist Dan Stone, the executive director and editor of Alibi, a new magazine focused on literature and rock and roll and former program manager at the National Endowment for the Arts.
- “A Great American Novel? What Makes The Great Gatsby so Great?” with Fitzgerald experts Jackson R. Bryer and Eleanor Heginbotham, will conduct a literary workshop.
In keeping with the Jazz Age backdrop, the conference will feature live musical performances from Pamela York, an award-winning jazz pianist, composer and vocalist.
Prizes will be awarded to winners of an adult and a student short story contest. Featured authors will sign their books.
Rockville historian Eileen McGuckian will lead a tour of "Rockville in the Jazz Age" that visits where Fitzgerald attended his father's funeral, where his mother was institutionalized and two historic cemeteries where he and Zelda are buried.
Fitzgerald’s local ties go beyond the graveyard. According to Peerless Rockville, where McGuckian was executive director for 30 years, Fitzgerald’s father Edward was from a well-established Montgomery County family that F. Scott regularly visited in his youth and kept up with through letters.
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Theatre Arts Building on Montgomery College's Rockville campus.