CORVALLIS - A conference examining the life and works of Bernard Malamud, author of "The Fixer" and "The Natural," will be held at Oregon State University May 24-26.
The conference is being put on by the national Bernard Malamud Society and will feature more than a dozen experts from around the country. Malamud was on the faculty of the OSU English Department from 1949-61 and his satirical novel, "A New Life," presumably was based on his life in Corvallis.
Also attending the conference will be Malamud's wife, Ann, and his son, Paul. Bernard Malamud died in 1986 at the age of 71, three years after receiving a Gold Medal in Fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
One of OSU's most distinguished faculty members, Malamud came to OSU in 1949 after 10 years as a high school teacher New York. He quickly established himself as a writer of national prominence, publishing his first novel, "The Natural," in 1952. It later was made into a film starring Robert Redford.
Six years later, Malamud's collection of short stories, "The Magic Barrel," received the National Book Award and the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
In 1961, Malamud left OSU to join the English department at Bennington College in Vermont and five years later received a Pulitzer Prize and a second National Book Award for "The Fixer." The title of that book came from a bicycle repair shop in Corvallis.
The OSU conference will open Friday (May 24) at LaSells Stewart Center and the day's activities include a film version of "The Fixer," starring Alan Bates, followed by a discussion of the novel. It begins at 8 p.m. in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, Room 103.
On Saturday, panels beginning at 9 a.m. in LaSells Stewart Center will address the following topics:
- "The Malamud Short Story," chaired by Vicki Aarons, Trinity University, Texas
- "A New Life," chaired by Joel Salzberg, University of Colorado
- "Women in Malamud's Fiction," chaired by Bonnie Lyons, University of Texas at San Antonio
- "Malamud's Life," chaired by Sanford Pinsker, Franklin and Marshall
- "The Malamud-Bellow Correspondence: A Roundtable Discussion," chaired by Gloria Cronin, Brigham Young University
- "Malamud: Jewish-University Writer?," chaired by Daniel Walden, Pennsylvania State University
- "Malamud's Jews and Others," chaired by Walden.
The conference will conclude on Sunday with a roundtable discussion at the Center for the Humanities called "The Old Life: Malamud's Colleagues and Cronies at Corvallis." Willard Potts, Nelson Sandgren and Warren Hovland - all current or emeritus OSU faculty members - and Suzanne Clark, University of Oregon, will discuss Malamud's time on the Oregon State faculty. The discussion will begin at 9 a.m.
For information on conference registration, contact the Bernard Malamud Society, (410) 484-5008, or Potts at 541-737-1637. Registration and a reception will be held Friday, beginning at 3 p.m., at OSU's Center for the Humanities, 811 S.W. Jefferson.
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Bill Potts, 541-737-1637