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The Works & Influence of Charles Portis: A Symposium

October 9, 2023

In celebration of the May 2023 publication of the Library of America series “The Collected Works of Charles Portis,” edited by Jay Jennings, this symposium, which takes place November 2 – 4, 2023, explores the writing and cultural influence of Portis.

Author, veteran, journalist, and bureau chief Charles Portis may be best known for his novel “True Grit,” but this Arkansawyer’s influence goes well beyond a single publication. Novels such as “Norwood,” “The Dog of the South,” “Masters of Atlantis,” and “Gringos,” as well as his contributions to The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Oxford American are a testament to his literary legacy. Topics presented during this symposium will focus on criticism and literary interpretations of his novels, film adaptations of his work, approaches to historical fiction, frontier studies, and much more.

The symposium will feature author Jay Jennings and support from Jonathan Portis, the City of Fort Smith, local museums and organizations, the Fort Smith Historical Society, Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA), the Arkansas Historical Association, and members of the True Grit Trail. It is hosted by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, Rhetoric and Writing, and Media Communications, and the Department of History, Social Sciences, and Philosophy.

Academics, scholars, and fans of Portis’s work are encouraged to attend.