THE GIFT OF STORY

Narrating Hope in Film and Literature

Western Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature

March 14-17, 2002

Azusa Pacific University

Department of English / 901 E. Alosta Ave / Azusa, CA 91702-7000 / (626) 812-3024

In his recent book The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope (1999), Andrew Delbanco writes that "human beings need to organize the inchoate sensations amid which we pass our days—pain, desire, pleasure, fear—into a story." From this perspective, storytelling is a gift that helps us articulate everyday experience and make sense of our lives. "When that story leads somewhere and thereby helps us navigate through life," he continues, "it gives us hope." This conference is based on the premise that stories are one of the chief means we have at our disposal to keep despair at bay, "to hold back the melancholy suspicion," as Delbanco puts it, "that we live in a world without meaning." While there are plenty of cultural forces today that may lead to despair, we want to focus on those stories in both film and literature that celebrate the diversity, promise, and value of human life. We welcome both critical papers and creative projects, especially those that address the theme of narrating hope. The conference will have several components: panels on film and literature, creative writing sessions, student sessions, invited plenary speakers, and a series of film screenings.

Send 250 word abstracts or creative works along with a current CV by November 15, 2001 to: Professors Mark Eaton and Emily Griesinger, Conference Co-Directors, Department of English, Azusa Pacific University, 900 East Alosta Avenue, Azusa, CA 91702-7000. (meaton@apu.edu)