* John Updike’s 90th Birthday Reading celebration
Friday, March 18, 12-1:30 p.m.
Join us under the grape arbor at The John Updike Childhood Home, 117 Philadelphia Ave., in Shillington for 90 minutes of Berks County-related Updike readings by community leaders to celebrate what would have been Updike’s 90th birthday. Hailed as one of the great American writers of the 20th century, Updike died in 2009. This reading, which showcases the author’s Shillington and Berks County fiction and prose, will be held under the arbor at the side of the house, weather permitting. In the event of bad weather, indoor seating will be limited to the first 25 people in attendance. No reservations. Just come.
The John Updike Society, which owns and operates The John Updike Childhood Home, holds programs on the life and literature of John Updike and on different aspects of the house’s rich history and inhabitants—including Howard Shilling, son of Shillington founder Samuel Shilling and one of the citizens responsible for organizing the Borough. Programs in the near future have included or will include an annual holiday ornament competition for Berks County students in grades K-5, readings from Updike’s “Rabbit” quartet during Banned Books Week; and on-site educational programs for school field trips. Contact education director Maria Lester if you are interested in working with her on a combined visit and activity/reading assignment/program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The John Updike Childhood Home presently has paperback copies of his first major Berks County novel, Rabbit, Run, which was recently chosen by Entertainment Weekly as the novel that best captures the spirit and character of Pennsylvania. Be warned that the content is for mature audiences only, but these books are available to be checked out by local book clubs and community groups so that their members can read the novel . . . then discuss it right in the house where Updike said his “artistic eggs were hatched.” Our education room has comfortable folding chairs and your before or after your discussion you can have a tour of the house. Contact education director Maria Lester (email@example.com) if your group would like to take advantage of this offer. In the future, the John Updike Society plans to buy copies of Updike’s other Pennsylvania fictions to loan to reading groups as well. Let us know what Updike books you’re hoping to read and discuss next!