We are delighted to announced the appointment of two of the country’s most accomplished funny men to our Saturday night headline, the John Malcolm Brinnin Memorial Event. Calvin Trillin and Roy Blount Jr. will take on double duty, appearing during the first session on Saturday, January 8, 2011, and again at the second session the following Saturday, January 15, for a pair of performances called “What Ever Happened to Chicken á la King?”
Trillin and Blount Jr. are both Southerners who got their start in journalism. After growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, graduating from Yale, and serving in the U.S. Army, Trillin first worked as a writer for Time magazine. His distinguished career has included stints at The New Yorker, where he was the author of a highly praised series of articles called “U.S. Journal”; and as a columnist for The Nation and USA Today. Blount Jr. grew up in Decatur, Georgia, graduated from Vanderbilt and Harvard, and first wrote for newspapers including The New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was associate editor of Sports Illustrated from 1968-1975, and has since then worked as a freelancer for publications including Garden & Gun, Oxford American, and Spy magazine. Both men’s voices are familiar to listeners of NPR, where they regularly appear on programs such as Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and A Prairie Home Companion. Trillin has been called “perhaps the finest reporter in America.” Blount Jr. says he has jumped out of a plane, graduated from race-car driving school, scuba-dived with sharks, sung on stage with Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King, and hit a game-winning Texas Leaguer in Venezuela.
Trillin and Blount Jr. last paired up at the Seminar in 2005. The short audio clip (3:57) below, with Blount Jr. reading his poem “Song to Okra,” and Trillin his “What Ever Happened to Brie & Chablis?” is taken from that session, and gives some indication of what we might expect this time around.
Seats are still available for both sessions of this year’s seminar: THE HUNGRY MUSE: An Exploration of Food in Literature. Advance registration ($495/all events) is strongly recommended.