Art & Soul To Feature Best-Selling Novelist, Award-Winning Singer

Feb. 18, 2002

A best-selling novelist and an award-winning singer/songwriter will highlight the third annual Art & Soul, an international festival of religious faith and literary art at Baylor University. Novelist Bret Lott and Christian recording artist Margaret Becker will make public presentations during the four-day event, which runs March 14-17 on the Baylor campus.

Lott, who will deliver a public reading at 8 p.m. March 15 in Jones Concert Hall at the McCrary Music Building, is the author of the Oprah Book Club selection "Jewel" and the novels "The Hunt Club," "The Man Who Owned Vermont" and "Reed's Beach," as well as the critically-acclaimed short story collections "How to Get Home" and "A Dream of Old Leaves."

The winner of three Dove awards and four Grammy nominations, contemporary Christian musician Becker has charted 14 No. 1 Christian hits and also is the author of the books "With New Eyes" and "Growing Up Together." She will perform in concert at 8 p.m. March 16 in Jones Concert Hall, and will teach a songwriting workshop at 3:40 p.m. March 14 in the Baines Room at the Bill Daniel Student Center.

In addition to master classes, performances and film screenings, Art & Soul will feature public presentations by Robert Olen Butler, Elizabeth Dewberry, Steve Zikman and special guest Will D. Campbell, among others.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the short story collection "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain," Butler is the author of nine novels and an additional collection of stories, a four-time honoree in Best American Short Stories and a six-time honoree in New Stories of the South. Presently a professor in the English department at Florida State University, Butler will read from his new novel, "Fair Warning," at 2 p.m. March 16.

Also at Florida State, playwright and novelist Dewberry is the author of "Break the Heart of Me," "Many Things Have Happened Since He Died" and her new "Sacrament of Lies," which she will read from at 10:30 a.m. March 16.

Zikman, a former attorney from Canada, has traveled through more than 50 countries on six continents. He is the author of the highly-acclaimed "The Power of Travel: A Passport to Adventure, Discovery and Growth" and co-author of the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul" and "Chicken Soup for the Outdoor Soul." Zikman will speak on "African Travel and Travel-Writing as Transformative Experience" for The John N. Jonsson Peace and Justice Lecture Series of the African Studies Program at 3:30 p.m. March 16.

The subject of the 2000 PBS documentary "God's Will," Campbell has been a pioneer in civil rights, a chaplain and a Baptist minister. He is the author of the National Book Award-nominated "Brother to a Dragonfly," "The Glad River," "The Convention," "Soul Among Lions: Musing of a Bootleg Preacher" and in spring 2002, a new edition, "Providence." He also was the first recipient of the Alex Haley Award for Distinguished Tennessee Writers. Campbell will speak at 8 p.m. March 14.

This year's scholarly conference will focus on the culture and religion of the American Southwest.

"We chose the Southwest emphasis this year as a way of highlighting some of the fine writers from the region," said Dr. Greg Garrett, associate professor of English and director of Art and Soul. "The Southwest is an incredibly diverse and artistically rich area and certainly worth a scholarly focus. The 'Texas,' Native American, African-American and Hispanic cultures shape Baylor strongly and to learn more about their art and culture opens new windows to understanding our region and ourselves."

With the exception of Lott and Becker's performances, all public presentations will take place in Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center and are free and open to the public. Tickets for Lott and Becker's performances are $10 and can be purchased at http://www.baylor.edu/Rel_Lit/registration/tickets.htm . For a complete schedule of Art & Soul events, visit http://www.baylor.edu/Rel_Lit/ .

For more information, contact Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning at (254) 710-4805.

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