Clarence Major, 11th Annual ODU Literary Festival


Clarence Major

Document Type

Featured Participant

Festival Date



Newport News Room, Webb Center; University Theatre

Author/Artist Bio

Clarence Major is the author of seven novels, including most recently Such Was the Season (1987) and Painted Turtle: Woman With Guitar (1988) one collection of stories, Fun and Games (1988); and eight books of poetry, most recently Surfaces and Masks (1987) and Some Observations of a Stranger at Zuin in the Latter Part of the Century (1988). He also edited the Dictionary of Afro-American Slang and The Dark and Feeling: Black American Writers and Their Work. He has won the Western States Book Award for Fiction for My Amputations, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a National Council on the Arts Fellowship. He has lectured and read from his work in England, Algeria, France, Liberia, West Germany, Ghana, Italy, the Netherlands, and Yugoslavia, as well as in this country. He is currently Professor of English at the University of Colorado. Major's earlier work was experimental; in fact, some critics say he "has been in the forefront of experimental poetry and prose." Of his most recent novel, the New York Times Book Review said: "Such was the Season is an old-fashioned, straight-ahead narrative crammed with action, a dramatic storyline and meaty characterization. But it's the widow Annie Eliza's melodic voice, by turns lilting and gruff, that salts and peppers and sweetens this story, enriching its flavor and meaning.... Clarence Major...has himself come home to touch base with the blues and spirituals that continue to nourish and express the lives of those people he writes about so knowingly, and with contagious affection."


Clarence Major gave a talk titled "Some Afterthoughts on Becoming a Writer" at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 3, in the Newport News Room of Webb Center.

He also read from his poetry and fiction at 8 p.m. that evening in the University Theatre.


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