posted February 5, 2007

VWS to Feature Author Percival Everett on Feb. 15

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series of Hope College will feature author and poet Percival Everett on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Everett, author of 15 novels, three short-story collections and one volume of poetry, is well known and much admired for his searing wit and lyrical prose. His most recent book is "Wounded," a novel the "Library Journal," in a starred review, called "A haunting depiction of intolerance and redemption." Everett is perhaps most famous for his 2001 satirical novel, "Erasure," which takes aim at black cultural stereotypes and, according to the "Los Angeles Times Book Review," "skewers the publishing hierarchy in amusing and astonishing ways."

Richard Bausch has written, "The prospect of reading anything from Percival Everett's pen is thrilling. He is a total original, someone whose work one reads with that marvelous sense of familiar discovery which we get from reading only the best writers."

With these novels and collections of stories to his credit, Everett has developed a reputation as a wordsmith. One critic has described him as a lyrical writer, whose "stark and sometimes powerful prose" leaves a lasting impression. His 1994 book, "God's Country" drew praise from the "New York Times": "[The novel] starts sour, then abruptly turns into Cowpoke Absurdism, ending with an acute hallucination of blood, hate and magic. It's worth the wait. The novel sears."

Born and raised in Columbia, S.C., Everett spent a childhood "filled with books," he says. As an undergraduate at the University of Miami, majoring in philosophy and biochemistry, he discovered the writings of early 20th-century analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein held that most philosophical problems were semantic - misunderstandings caused by imprecise language. "I was seduced completely by Wittgenstein," Everett says. "He still informs my way of thinking. The root for me is matters of language."

Everett has worked as a musician, a ranch hand and a high school teacher, and in addition to writing is a painter, a woodworker and a flyfisherman. He trains mules on his ranch outside of Los Angeles.

He has received many awards, including the "Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction," the "New American Writing Award," and the "Pen/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature." His stories have also been included in the "Pushcart Prize Anthology" and "Best American Short Stories."

The Hope College Jazz Ensemble will precede the reading at the Knickerbocker with a 6:30 p.m. performance.

Additional information may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/vws.
The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.