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Loyola introduces new students to New Orleans culture with iconic novel

Loyola press release - June 28, 2010

As part of the First Year Summer Reading Program at Loyola University New Orleans, all first-year students will receive a copy of John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” published by Louisiana State University Press. Students will receive the book either by mail or during upcoming orientation sessions. The distribution of this book was made possible by a generous donation from the College of Law under the leadership of the late Brian Bromberger.

“This book is a fitting choice for many reasons, including its connection to Loyola. Southern literature is known for its connection to place, and no book better represents a place than this one,” states a letter to the students signed by the deans of Loyola’s College of Business, College of Music and Fine Arts, College of Humanities and Natural Sciences and College of Social Sciences.

While teaching in the English department at Loyola in 1976, noted Southern author Walker Percy was approached by the mother of a young, local writer who had committed suicide seven years earlier. The mother explained to Percy that in his career, her son had failed to find a publisher for his manuscript. After some persuasion, Percy read and saw promise in the piece and later used his influence to reintroduce it to publishers. As a result, “A Confederacy of Dunces” was published in 1980 and Toole was awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously in 1981. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the book’s publishing.

Several events are being planned for students during Wolfpack Welcome, August 25-29, to complement their reading experience. First-year students are invited to participate in a “Confederacy of Dunces” writing contest where they can submit 350-500 word essays that detail the issues addressed in the novel. There will be six cash awards given for the best entries.

On August 27, a Lucky Dog vendor will be on campus selling hot dogs in the Loyola Peace Quad, where students, parents and faculty will be encouraged to gather in small groups to discuss the book. The university will also offer city-wide bus tours for students and their families that will include famous landmarks from the novel.

For more information, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-891-5882.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.