Versatile author to read at reading series

March 6, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Updated March 5, 2012 at 9:06 p.m.

   JULIE ZAVALA for The Victoria Advocate

There's no telling what you'll get at Thursday's American Book Review Spring Reading Series.

Percival Everett, author of almost 20 novels and a distinguished professor of English at the University of Southern California, hasn't yet decided what he'll read for the event at the University of Houston-Victoria. But he has plenty to choose from.

With a repertoire stretching back to the early 1980s, Everett has written about everything from Greek mythology and racial issues to westerns and murder mysteries.

"My style varies with each book. I don't like writing the same thing twice," Everett said in an email.

No matter the genre or even the medium, Everett said he hopes his writing will at least get the audience thinking.

As a former graduate student of philosophy, Everett said he's intrigued by the mysteriousness of art. He said the demystification of art, meanwhile, can be achieved when it is presented honestly and without fear.

"Art is in fact mysterious. I don't know how it happens. But art is also available to all of us. It can push us to new limits and teach us that we have no limits," he said.

And Everett should know. His writings have been reviewed in publications like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and his awards are as numerous as his books.

Throughout his career, he's won the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction.

"Percival Everett's brilliance shines forth whether he is writing fiction, poetry, essays or working in multimedia," Uppinder Mehan, chair of the UHV School of Arts and Sciences Humanities Division was quoted as saying in a news release. "He can tug at your heartstrings one moment and be mercilessly satirical the next."

For his part, Everett offered a simpler expectation.

"I simply hope (everyone) likes what I read and leaves thinking about some things."



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