UMW Administrative Faculty Member and Alumni to Speak at Virginia Festival of the Book

A University of Mary Washington administrative faculty member and two alumni will speak at the 18th annual Virginia Festival of the Book, to be held March 21 through 25 in Charlottesville. Charles J. Shields, associate director of the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series and Kelly Cherry ’61 and Matt Paxton ’97, will participate in readings, discussion sessions and presentations.

Charles J. Shields

Charles J. Shields will participate, along with two other authors, in the discussion session “Literary Icons – Their Lives, Their Works: Vonnegut, Tolstoy and E.B. White” on Friday, March 23 at 4 p.m. in the University of Virginia (UVa) Bookstore at 400 Emmet Street South. Shields also will give his presentation “And So It Goes” for students at two local high schools on the same day. Shields is the author of the first biography of Kurt Vonnegut, “And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life’’(2011). In addition, he is a co-founder of Biographers International Organization (BIO), an organization that promotes the professional interests of practicing biographers.

Kelly Cherry

Kelly Cherry, Virginia Poet Laureate, will appear in the festival’s opening ceremony on Wednesday, March 21 at noon in the McIntire Room of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, located at 201 East Market Street. Later that day, Cherry will participate in a poetry reading from her book “Hazard and Prospect: New and Selected Poems” (2007) with other poets at 4 p.m. at UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections on the UVa Central Grounds. Cherry is a recipient of the University of Mary Washington’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, among many others. She is Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Matt Paxton

Matt Paxton, author of “The Secret Lives of Hoarders” (2011) and featured cleaning expert on A&E’s television show “Hoarders,” will appear in the session “Memoirs: How We Cope,” discussing coping with personal biological and psychological issues. The session will be held Saturday, March 24 at noon at the City Council Chambers on 605 East Main Street.

All Virginia Festival of the Book events are open to the public and are free of charge, with the exception of several ticketed events. Produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the five-day event honors book culture and promotes reading and literacy. For more information on participants and programs, visit

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News release prepared by: Julia Davis                      

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


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