Author of ‘The Last Station’ to Speak at The University of Scranton


The University of Scranton’s Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library will present the 2012 Royden B. Davis, S.J., Distinguished Author Award to Jay Parini, Ph.D., ’H05, an award winning poet, biographer, fiction writer and educator. This ceremony is one of a series of events planned throughout 2012 in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, in the Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny, S.J., Ballroom of the Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center. The reception begins at 5 p.m. with dinner and the award ceremony following at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required to attend the ceremony.

In addition, a book signing which is open to the public, free of charge, will take place on Sept. 29 from 4 to 5 p.m. on the fourth floor reception area of the DeNaples Center.

A versatile writer, Dr. Parini has published poetry and acclaimed biographies, as well as essays on the New York Knicks. His novel “The Last Station” about the last year in the life of Russian author Leo Tolstoy was made into a film in 2009, which received two Oscar nominations.

Dr. Parini’s other novels include “The Love Run,” “Benjamin’s Crossing,” “The Apprentice Lover” and, most recently, “The Passages of H.M.” His biographies include  “John Steinbeck,” “Robert Frost: A Life,” and “One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner.” He published his first book of poems, “Singing in Time,” in 1972, followed by “Anthracite Country,” “Town Life,” “House of Days,” and “The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems.”

Dr. Parini’s writing and scholarship also includes criticism, such as “Theodore Roethke, an American Romantic,” “Why Poetry Matters,” and “Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America.” He has also published a text book, “An Invitation to Poetry,” and wrote about his philosophy of teaching in “The Art of Teaching,” a book of essays published in 2005.

A university professor nearly four decades, Dr. Parini serves as the director of the creative writing program and the Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., where he has taught since 1982. Previously, he was a professor at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., from 1975 to 1982.

A native of Scranton, Dr. Parini served as principal speaker at The University of Scranton’s 2005 commencement at which he received an honorary degree from the University. Dr. Parini also presented a lecture on campus as part of the 2009-2010 Schemel Forum series about “The Last Station: How a Novel Became a Film,” which included a brief glimpse of the film.

Dr. Parini is a graduate of West Scranton High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrew, Scotland.

The Distinguished Author Award Series began with the Friends of the Weinberg Library’s desire to recognize and honor the work of fiction and non-fiction authors. The Friends also saw it as an opportunity for authors to share their literary pursuits and impressions with residents of northeastern Pennsylvania. The annual event helps the Friends of the Library Endowment Fund, which supports special gifts for the Weinberg Library collections and services.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Author Award have included Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning author and actor Jack Palance, Malachy McCourt, Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Lisa Scottoline, Linda Fairstein, James Grippando, Phillip Margolin, Mary Gordon, William Bernhardt and Steve Berry. The award was first presented in 1997.

For further information or to reserve a ticket for the award event, contact Kym Fetsko at The University of Scranton at (570) 941-7816 or

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