The John Updike Writers in Society Lecture Records include letters from Updike addressed to Carla Cooper, Executive Director of University Relations, and David Farmer, Head of Special Collections, regarding arrangements for the author's campus visit and interviews. Also included in the collection are the opening remarks of Robin Downes, Director of Libraries, for the luncheon honoring Updike, and an excerpt signed by the author from his first novel The Poorhouse Fair. The remainder of the collection consists of letters from Updike to the University of Houston written after his visit. The Special Collections Department of the University of Houston Libraries has over two hundred of Updike's novels and collections of short stories, poetry and criticism, including first and later editions, foreign editions, broadsides, and private press books, many of them signed by the author.
Open for research.
Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.
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John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard University in 1954 and worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine from 1955 to 1957. Updike has written more than fifty books, including novels, collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. He has received the National Book Award for Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the American Book Award for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.
On March 20, 1985, Updike visited the University of Houston and gave a lecture at the University Hilton Hotel as part of the University of Houston's 1984-1985 Writers in Society Series. Updike read poems from his book Facing Nature to an audience of one thousand, then answered questions. The following day he was the guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by the Friends of the Library to open an exhibition of the library's collection of his works.
The majority of items in this collection were drawn from the files of the Special Collections Department of the M.D. Anderson Library. A signed excerpt from one of the author's novels was purchased from a book dealer.
John Merkel, May 2000
Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository