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Lost in the Cosmos? Find the Walker Percy Center Conference at Loyola this fall

March 22, 2013

Inspired by Walker Percy’s nonfiction book “Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book,” the second Walker Percy Conference, “Still Lost in the Cosmos: Walker Percy and the 21st Century” Oct. 11-12, seeks to explore the themes and issues generated by Percy’s lively analysis of the modern condition. In 2011, the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing at Loyola University New Orleans hosted its inaugural conference, “The Moviegoer at Fifty,” based on his well-known novel set in New Orleans.

“Lost in the Cosmos” contains essays, quizzes and “thought experiments” designed to satirize conventional self-help texts while provoking reader to undertake a thoughtful contemplation of their existential situations and of the search for meaning and purpose that could derive from such reflections. There may or may not be quizzes at the conference, but there will certainly be thoughtful panels.

Submissions for the October conference are accepted until April 1. Possible topics include “Ideas of the Self from the Cave to the Cosmos,” “Lost in the Cosmos: 30 Years Later,” or “Percy vs Sagan: Spiritual and Secular Visions of the Cosmos.” One-page individual paper abstracts for 20 minute presentations or two-page panel proposals should be e-mailed to the Walker Percy Center.

The keynote speaker is Paul Elie, senior fellow with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and author of the book “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” a biography of four Catholic writers, including Walker Percy.

If special circumstances exist, submitters can request additional time by contacting the Walker Percy Center.

Through conferences, readings and classes for the community, the Walker Percy Center honors the memory and contributions of Walker Percy, prominent American author, Catholic and former Loyola faculty member. More information about the Center and the upcoming conference, which is open to the public, is available online.

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