Noted Author Nicholson Baker to Open Symposia on the Fate of the Book

Sept. 25, 2012

Event: The Fate of the Book is the title of the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies (TILTS) symposia for 2012-13, featuring an opening lecture by Nicholson Baker, noted author of “The Size of Thoughts” andThe Double Fold, Libraries” and “Assault on Paper.” Free and open to the public.

When: Thursday, Sept. 27, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Blanton Museum of Art Auditorium at The University of Texas at Austin. A map is available online.

Background:  TILTS (an initiative of the Department of English) symposia organizers describe Baker as “a staunch defender of paper objects.” His most recent work, “The Way the World Works,” is a collection of essays published in August 2012. Baker is also a well-known fiction writer of such works as “Vox” andThe Fermata.”

A fervent critic of what he perceives as libraries' unnecessary destruction of paper-based media, Baker wrote several vehement articles in The New Yorker critical of the San Francisco Public Library for sending thousands of books to a landfill, eliminating card catalogs, and destroying old books and newspapers in favor of microfilm. In 1997, Baker received the San Francisco-based James Madison Freedom of Information Award in recognition of these efforts.

 About the symposia: In panel presentations throughout the academic year, TILTS contributors will analyze and debate the sweeping changes to books, readers and culture wrought by new digital and web technologies both within and beyond the university. Panelists will include scholars, librarians, collectors, curators and writers in various fields: literature, economic history and business, university administration, and popular culture. TILTS co-directors are Janine Barchas and Elizabeth Scala, associate professors in the Department of English. Fall panels include:

Preservers Panel, Oct. 25-26, 7 p.m., featuring Nicolas Barker, Kathleen Rooney and Michael Witmore. Location:  Prothro Theater, Harry Ransom Center.

Transformers Panel, Nov. 29-30, 7 p.m., featuring Bob Stein, Daniel Raff and Paul La Farge. Location: Prothro Theater, Harry Ransom Center.

More information on the Fate of the Book symposia is available on their website.

For more information, contact: David Ochsner, College of Liberal Arts, 512 626 0788; Janine Barchas, Department of English, barchas@austin.utexas.edu, 512-471-8379