Nationally recognized writer and humorist Roy Blount Jr. read from his work and told other humorous anecdotes on Tuesday, March 26, as part of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts’ Visiting Writers Series. As creative writing professor Barry Kitterman said in his introduction, “[Blount] rafted the Amazon, played baseball with the 1969 Chicago Cubs, and hung out with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson.”
Blount is a graduate of Vanderbilt and Harvard Universities, author of 23 books and a regular panelist on National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” He worked for Sports Illustrated from 1968-1975, is the former president of the Author’s Guild and a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers.
“The New York Public Library has banquets to raise money, the Literary Lion Banquets,” Blount said to begin his reading. “People can ask them three things you don’t want to answer … The worst of which being, ‘how’s your book doing?’” In a separate instance, Blount spoke of an experience when about 200 of the “Lions” were brought together for an evening and the organization involved lining up in alphabetical order and being shushed like children.
Blount also had advice for the students and writers in attendance. “Meryl Streep said one time to a Yale graduating class, ‘you know, you are leaving college now and going out into the real world, and you will find that the real world is not like college. The real world is like high school,’” Blount said. “But sometimes the literary world is a lot like grammar school.”
Kitterman was quick to point out the reading could not have been possible without the sponsorship of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and president Tim Hall. “Tim Hall is a real, authentic literature guy,” Kitterman said. “We’re only able to bring writers this big [to APSU] because he helps with the money.”
Blount currently contributes to Oxford American and has a column in Garden and Gun, while being a regular guest of Garrison Keillor’s on “A Prairie Home Companion.” TAS