Hear Jay Jennings discuss nonfiction writings of Charles Portis today at noon as part of CALS Legacies & Lunch series

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Jay Jennings is the foremost expert on the writings of Charles Portis. (And a very talented writer himself!)  Today (July 3) at noon, he will speak about Portis at the CALS Butler Center Legacies & Lunch series.

Charles Portis is well known for his novels, such as the classic True Grit, but his journalism, travel writing, and other short works—many of them touching on his Arkansas roots—remained largely unknown until the collection Escape Velocity was published by Butler Center Books in 2013. Author/editor Jay Jennings, editor of that tome, will discuss the process of bringing together this miscellany and how it relates to Portis’ career.

The program starts at 12 noon in the Darragh Center of the CALS Main Library Branch.

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas related topics. Program are held from noon to 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. A library parking discount is available for attendees.

Oxford American features Charles Portis film adaptation

2e6b4_1320267846-oxa_logoToday, August 26, 2013, the Oxford American website features the world premiere of a film adapatation of Charles Portis’ “I Don’t Talk Service No More.”

In addition to the film, the website features an interview of the filmmaker Katrina Whalen.  Jay Jennings, who edited Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany chats with Ms. Whalen about Portis and the process of making films.

Whalen worked in production for directors Charlie Kaufman (Being John MalkovichAdaptationSynecdoche, New York) and Julie Taymor (TitusFrida; Broadway’s The Lion King) after her undergrad education at Yale.  She then enrolled in graduate school at New York University.

Jennings is a freelance writer whose journalism, book reviews, and humor have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Oxford American, and many other newspapers and magazines.

To see the film, which features Peter McRobbie and Richard Marshall, visit the OA website.

Escape Velocity Launch Party


Tonight at 6pm at the Darragh Center of the Central Arkansas Library, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies will host a launch party for the new book: Escape Velocity.  Edited by Jay Jennings, this collects the works of Charles Portis and represents his first new release in more than 20 years.  The book is published by Butler Center Books.
The evening will include remarks by Jennings, readings by Graham Gordy and music by Mandy McBride.  Last week, another launch event was held in New York City.

The book-which collects Portis’s nonfiction and short stories, as well as a memoir and a play-spans his half-century-long writing career, covering his early journalism from the 1950s when he worked for several newspapers up to more recent magazine stories published in the Atlantic and the Oxford American.

Escape Velocity brings together almost everything Portis has written outside his novels, both never-before-published work and hard-to-find stories that fans have known about for years and that new readers will delight in discovering.

Besides True Grit, Portis is the author of four other novels-NorwoodThe Dog of the SouthMasters of Atlantis, and Gringos. All of his novels are available from Overlook Press.

About the editor
Jay Jennings, a journalist and humorist, lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. A former reporter for Sports Illustrated and frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, Jennings is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City (Rodale Press, 2010), a book that focuses on the 2007 football season at Little Rock’s famed Central High School-a half-century after the tumultuous 1957 desegregation of the school.