Jay Jennings, Keynote Speaker – March 3

Sunday, March 3rd at 3:00 pm at the Kenneth Kai Tai Yen Humanities Bldg., The Pennington School

Jay Jennings has known True Grit author Charles Portis for over 30 years. He will cover Portis’ early life in Arkansas, his time in the Marines (he served in the Korean War), and his journalism career in New York and London, before he started his career as a novelist. Jennings will explain the origins of True Grit in history, the landscape in Arkansas and Oklahoma where it takes place, and the making of both films. Finally, he talks about Mr. Portis’s other novels, which are more overtly comic and are being rediscovered thanks to prominent fans like Conan O’Brien, Bill Hader, and Michael Cera.

About Jay Jennings:

Jay Jennings is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lowbrow Reader, Garden & Gun, Travel & Leisure and Oxford American, where he is a senior editor.

His most recent editing project is Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany, which collected the reportage, travel writing, short stories and drama by the novelist best-known for True Grit. The collection was named Book of the Year for 2012 by Books & Culture, and the New York Times Book Review called it “a thoughtfully composed selection of published work spiced with rare and fresh material.” Jennings has recently completed a screenplay, with TV writer Graham Gordy (Rectify, Quarry), adapted from Portis’s 1979 novel, The Dog of the South. He often speaks about True Grit and Charles Portis under the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program.

Part of the NEA Big Read

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest