On October 10, Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford will spend the day with Tabor Academy students and faculty, sharing his craft as a visiting author. He will present a formal reading of his work for the Tabor Community and the public at 6:30 pm that evening.
The day has been in the works for some time, planned by English faculty member and Wareham resident, Mark Howland. “The opportunity for budding writers to meet someone so accomplished is really formative,” said Howland. “It has been a dream of mine to be able to have someone of this caliber come to campus for some time.” In order to create the most meaningful interaction, Howland has crafted a day that allows students with the most interest in creative writing some uninterrupted and unscripted time with the author over lunch, while the entire school will have a chance to hear about his life and inspiration at their weekly school meeting.
To prepare for the day, the school required summer readings from Ford’s Rock Springs, a collection of his short stories. In order to get a feel for his writing, the younger students in Grades 9 and 10 read the story “Rock Springs” and another story of their choosing, while upperclassmen read “Communist” and a second story of their choosing. Further, Howland is teaching a senior elective called Oates & Ford (Joyce Carol Oates and Richard Ford) that is exploring the writers’ short story styles and themes in depth. This class of seniors, as well as other AP and Honors English classes, will have dedicated time with Mr. Ford in the afternoon to hear a reading and to talk in depth about various styles he uses, how he informs his work, and what his greatest influences have been.
Ford has just completed his first work of non-fiction, a memoir called Between Them, which is about his parents and the life they led before his arrival as their only child. His titles, available to students at Tabor’s Charles Hayden Library, include Let Me Be Frank With You, The Sportswriter, A Multitude of Sins, Canada, The Lay of the Land, Independence Day, and A Piece of My Heart.
The formal reading by Richard Ford will take place at 6:30 pm in Tabor’s Lyndon South Auditorium, Stroud Academic Center, 232 Front Street, Marion. The event is free and open to the public, though the school requires a simple pre-registration in order to plan appropriate seating: taboracademy.org/richardford.