The John Updike Society Conference in Belgrade
From 1st to 5th June 2018, the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade hosted the fifth biennial Conference of the John Updike Society.
The conference was opened on 1st June at 7:30 P.M. with award-winning writer Ian McEwan delivering his keynote lecture before a large audience, which was initially addressed by Prof. Biljana Dojčinović, Head of the Comparative Literature and Theory of Literature Department, who is the conference director and a board member of the John Updike Society. The conference was officially opened by Prof. Jelena Filipović, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Philology.
This was the first conference of the John Updike Society held outside the United States of America. The conference participants included the most important domestic and international Updike scholars as well as prominent writers and translators, coming from fourteen countries: Bulgaria, Great Britain, Georgia, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Canada, Romania, Russia, France, the Czech Republic, but most substantially from the U.S. and Serbia.
Apart from Ian McEwan, keynote speakers were Prof. Alexander Shurbanov of the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sophia and Michael Updike, famous sculptor and son of the late writer.
In addition to three keynote lectures, four plenary and eight parallel sessions with three speakers (with the exception of one session with two speakers) were held during the conference.
The final – plenary – session of the conference was held in the National Library of Serbia in the form of a public roundtable, the topic of which was “Updike and Politics”.
John Updike visited Belgrade in 1978 as a guest of the October Meeting of Writers, held in the National Library. The conference largely followed Updike’s “path” through Belgrade. To this effect, the “Ballad on Henry Beck” performance, for instance, took place in the premises of Writer’s Union, where Updike held a media conference in October 1978.
The conference was vastly present in the media – only the most important examples of media coverage are listed below. The conference participants unanimously marked this event highly successful and decided that every alternate conference of the Updike Society should be held outside the U.S. What is more, a number of participants expressed their interest in the Faculty of Philology’s English Department conference, which is planned for next year.
Saturday, May 26th
Cultural Supplement of Politika
Text by James Plath and the first part of the interview with John Updike in 1978.
Sunday, May 27th
TV N1 – Biljana Dojčinović announces the conference in the live morning show with the journalist Maja Sikimić
Tuesday, May 29th
TV Studio B – Biljana Dojčinović announces the conference in the live morning show with the journalist Sanja Lubardić
Thursday, May 31st
RTS, Cultural Daily – announcement of the conference with Biljana Dojčinović speaking, too
Friday, June 1st
RTS, Cultural Daily
Beginning of the conference
Saturday, June 2nd
Cultural Supplement of Politika
Second part of the interview with John Updike in 1978.
Sunday, June 3rd
Politika, interview with James Schiff, by Marina Vulićević
Monday, June 4th
Politika, interview with Ian McEwan by Marina Vulićević
Tuesday, June 5th
National Library of Serbia’s Event
Wednesday, June 6th
Cultural Center presents the conference
Starts at 37:43
Friday, June 15th
Politika, interview with Michael Updike by Marina Vulićević