Four-day Elderhostel Program Scheduled Nov. 6-10 at Lincoln Trail College with 11th annual James Jones Symposium
The James Jones Literary Society will hold its 11th annual symposium at Lincoln Trail College (LTC) in Jones' hometown of Robinson, Illinois, in conjunction with a four-day Elderhostel program.
"Big World-Small Town: A Look Back at the '40s" will examine Jones' work on World War II and the effects of that war on the returning veteran, in addition to other literature and events of the 1940s.
The Elderhostel program culminates with the Saturday, Nov. 10, James Jones Symposium, held annually by the James Jones Literary Society. While the Elderhostel program is for persons 55 or older and requires registration, admission to the Saturday symposium is free and open to the public.
Registration fees for the Elderhostel includes overnight accommodations, meals and local transportation. Local residents may enroll at the same fee, minus the cost of overnight accommodations. For an additional fee, Elderhostel participants are also welcome to attend optional dinners on Friday and Saturday evening. These dinners are sponsored by the James Jones Literary Society and are related to the symposium.
For information about scheduled events and enrollment costs for the Elderhostel, please contact Dick Grogg at (877) 273-4554, write to him at Southeastern Illinois Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 277, Flora, IL 62839, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go directly to the Elderhostel catalogue.
The annual symposium's return to Robinson is particularly significant this year because it corresponds with what would have been James Jones' 80th birthday, the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which Jones witnessed from where he was stationed at Schofield Barracks, and the 50th anniversary of the publication of From Here To Eternity, which he wrote when he returned to Robinson after his discharge from the Army. Once again, the Illinois Humanities Council is supporting the symposium with a grant to help cover expenses.
Former Handy Writers' Colony member John Bowers, whose book The Colony is a personal memoir about his own time at the Colony in 1952-53, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium, talking about those days and the effects on him and his writing career. Bowers has written seven other books, including a biography of Civil War General Stonewall Jackson. Immediately following Bowers' talk, a panel of former Colony members Don Sackrider, Jon Shirota and Bowers and Lowney Handy friend Helen Howewill discuss their recollections and perspective of the Colony.
Shirota, the last Colony member in residence, has written an as-yet-unpublished play, "The Last Retreat," that will be read at the Friday night board dinner at Quail Creek Country Club. The play is also included in Writings From The Handy Colony, a new book by Tales Press scheduled to be published just before the symposium as a companion piece to James Jones And The Handy Writers' Colony (Southern Illinois Press).
Both books were edited by Howe, Sackrider and retired University of Illinois English professor and first Society president George Hendrick, who also has edited two volumes of Carl Sandburg's previously unpublished poems, is a recognized Sandburg expert and will lecture during the Elderhostel on the poet and writer's work of the 1940s.
Those three Society board members and Jones scholars, Shirota, Bowers and other symposium guests will be available for book signings Saturday afternoon at LTC. The contact person at the college for more information is Danelle Hevron at (618) 544-8657, X1123, by phone or email@example.com by e-mail.
After a Tuesday night orientation to Robinson and the Elderhostel program, past Society president and Wilkes University English professor Mike Lennon's documentary James Jones: From Reville to Taps will kick off the first session of the Elderhostel program on Wednesday morning, Nov. 7. Lennon will speak later about the fiction of Norman Mailer and James Jones. He also will report on the success of several of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship winners and runners-up since the award was first given nine years ago with an award of $2,000 to the winner. The award is given annually by the Society to continue the practice of James Jones to support and encourage young writers. Last year's winner, Stephen Phillip Policoff, was the first recipient of what is now a $5,000 award.
Other topics during the Elderhostel program include an overview of the decade of the '40s, emphasizing the war years with a presentation by World War II veterans, retired Wright State history professors and Society board members Carl Becker and Robert Thobaben, and viewing movie versions of Jones' novels with analysis by Southern Illinois University English and film professor and Society board member Tony Williams. Kaylie Jones will conduct a writing workshop on Friday afternoon.
Elderhostel participants will be given a tour of the site of the Handy Writers' Colony near Marshall and the house nearby that Jones had built after the publication of From Here To Eternity.
Note: June 22, 2002, has been confirmed for the 2002 James Jones Symposium. American University in Paris will host the symposium and assist in the planning.