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Thornton Wilder Conference to Draw International Scholars to Rhode Island

The writer’s estate collaborates in the second such gathering, which will fete Paula Vogel and feature talks by Will Eno and Gordon Edelstein.

NEWPORT, R.I.: The Second International Thornton Wilder Conference will feature round table conversations, panel discussions, presentations, readings and events over a three-day celebration of Wilder’s work. The conference will take place June 11–13 at Salve Regina University, and is expected to attract leading academics and theatre professionals from countries including France, China, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland and the U.S.

“Our event reflects Wilder’s wide-ranging and eclectic interests and talents in its inclusion of theatre directors and performers, as well as literature, theatre, classics and American studies scholars from around the world,” said Thornton Wilder Society president Jackson R. Bryer in a statement.

Paula Vogel
Paula Vogel.

Highlights of the conference include presentations from Paula Vogel and Will Eno sharing their perspectives of Wilder’s writing. There will also be a presentation of excerpts from a recently discovered Wilder play titled Villa Rhabani, and a talk by Long Wharf Theatre artistic director Gordon Edelstein about director Wilder’s work. Wilder’s nephew, Tappan Wilder, will share anecdotes from his experiences as the manager of the Wilder estate. And Maria Dizzia will perform a reading of Wilder’s work at a banquet dinner, at which Vogel will be presented with the Thornton Wilder Prize.

Wilder’s connection to Newport began with his first novel The Cabala, which he penned there. The seaside city later served as an inspiration for many of his plays, poems and essays.

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