Enrichment Program plans celebration of former English professor John Williams

He taught in the DU English department for more than 30 years and wrote four novels, the most famous of which is 1965’s “Stoner.” But author John Williams — a DU alumnus and former director of the University’s creative writing program — enjoyed only minimal critical and commercial fame before he died in 1994. Twelve years later, “Stoner” became a bestseller in Europe and eventually gained new acclaim in the U.S., where it has been billed as “the most perfect novel ever written.” Today, in 2020, Williams has a worldwide following and the critical acclaim that eluded him in life.

On March 28, the DU Enrichment Program will sponsor a one-day conference devoted to Williams and his work. Among the scheduled speakers are William Zaranka, one of Williams’ former colleagues; Joe Nigg (PhD ’75), a former student of Williams’ who is now a successful author; Anne Marie Candido, an archivist from the University of Arkansas who worked with Williams on organizing his files; and Alan Prendergast, an investigative reporter who wrote the definitive long-form feature about Williams during the groundswell of renewed interest in him as a great novelist.

The day will conclude with a dinner and a reading from Williams’ final, unfinished novel, “The Sleep of Reason.”

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