Hiram College

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, author Tim O’Brien spent a very busy day on Hiram’s campus. In addition to meeting with classes, he spoke at two convocations, fielded questions and signed copies of his book, “The Things They Carried,” this year’s Big Read book.

Both convocations, which were open to the public, filled Hayden Auditorium. At the first convocation, O’Brien discussed the joys and challenges of the writing process. He focused on writing fiction, how he draws from and embellishes on his real-life experiences, noting he is a “fervent believer in the power of stories,” and that “fiction is for reaching beyond the here and now, beyond the absolutes.”

During the evening convocation, he elaborated on how he came to write “The Things They Carried,” and how the various elements of those stories, while themselves fiction, were composites of his own experiences in Vietnam. In both convocations, he discussed “truth” in writing, noting that “one man’s truth might be another man’s lie.”

After each talk, O’Brien answered questions from the audience and signed hundreds of copies of his books.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Hiram College’s Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature presents the 2010 Big Read in partnership with Kent State University, Portage County District Library, Reed Memorial Library, Kent Free Library, Hiram Community Trust, WKSU, PARTA and the Record-Courier. More than 40 community-based reading programs and activities for adults, families and children will be held from September 28 – November 6.

For more information on the Big Read, go here.

To see pictures of O’Brien’s convocation appearance, go here.