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Penn State Laureate to Visit Penn State York Nov. 12

Photo of Kenneth Womack
Penn State Laureate Kenneth Womack will share some of his works during three presentations on Nov. 12.
11/11/2013 —

Penn State York is hosting Kenneth A. Womack, professor of English and integrative arts and senior associate dean of academic affairs, arts and humanities at Penn State Altoona, on Tuesday, Nov. 12 for three sessions – 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. All three presentations are free and open to the public. Womack is the 2013-14 Penn State Laureate and has been traveling across the state visiting Penn State campuses and giving academic presentations.

Womack is the author of three novels: "John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel" (2010), which earned ForeWord Reviews’ Bronze Award for Literary Fiction; "The Restaurant at the End of the World" (2012), which earned a gold Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Regional Fiction; and "Playing the Angel" (forthcoming, 2013). He also is the author or editor of numerous works of nonfiction, including "Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles" (2007) and "The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles" (2009), which was named as The Independent’s “Music Book of the Year.” His latest Beatles-oriented work, "The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four," will be released in February 2014, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the group’s legendary appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In addition to studying Russian language and literature at the Moscow Institute of Communications, Womack earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in English from Northern Illinois University.

Womack’s noon-hour presentation, in the Lee R. Glatfelter Library, “Tales of the Forgotten: Selections from “The Restaurant at the End of the World,’” features selections from his second novel, “The Restaurant at the End of the World.” The novel traces the final hours in the lives of the staff of the Windows on the World restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. His presentation celebrates the lives of the characters through readings from the novel. An extensively researched story, based upon the actual people who worked at Windows on the World, Womack’s book is said to appeal to anyone who has suffered the sudden devastation of human tragedy – the loss of a loved one, who, seemingly moments before, was vividly living out their aspirations.

At 1:30 p.m.in room 204 of the Main Classroom Building, Womack’s presentation, “Anarchy in the O.K.: Selections from ‘Joe Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel,’” brings his first novel, “John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel,” to life through readings of key chapters, as well as discussion of the novel’s depiction of the events that lead to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As a fictive reimaging of contemporary history, Womack’s novel takes a look at Timothy McVeigh’s last, desperate months of freedom as he travels from one gun show to another, crisscrossing the country in his Chevy Geo Spectrum, and prepares to unleash one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in our nation’s history.

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles,” is Womack’s final presentation of the day, and takes place in room 114 of the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. In this multimedia interactive presentation, Womack traces the band’s emerging songwriting practices, recording artistry, and musicianship from their early, primitive recordings through the aesthetic heights of “Abbey Road” at the twilight of their career. Womack illustrates the group’s artistic growth through a wide range of musical and filmic illustrations.

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