Mary Beard as our Virgil

September 21, 2016, by

Smaller Mary Beard photo 1 IMG_7189On first meeting celebrated historian Mary Beard, I was struck by two observations. 1) She has the most impeccable, chirpy, and patrician British accent I’ve ever heard, and 2) she wears the flyest kicks—gold-colored, metal-studded sneakers—I’ve ever seen. Her life’s work bears this dual legacy. She is an Oxbridge-trained professor of classics and author of over a dozen well-received books, as well as an approachable public intellectual, who writes a popular blog and frequently appears on “telly” as a commentator on all manner of news stories.

Mary Beard read at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston on Sunday, September 18, as part of a partnership with Brazos Bookstore. Before there were such categories as “creative nonfiction” or “memoir,” there were chronicles of the time, and Romans documented activities both contemporaneous and ancient. She presented an engaging talk, complete with photo documentation, on the subject of her newest history SPQR.

Beard first described her personal investment in Roman history by detailing a visit in 1973 to the eternal city. What struck her most was not the ancient remains or the Renaissance art, but the SPQR emblem still stamped on manhole covers, door handles, and garbage cans. Representing the Latin phrase for the Roman Senate and People, it is the longest running acronym in the history of the world. Continue reading

A host of literary activities planned for Comicpalooza 2015

May 18, 2015, by

Comicpalooza 2015 logoFor those of us who have a passion for the written word, we think of the books we’ve read over our lifetime that helped inspire this passion in us. As kids we began reading classic children’s books, then moved on to middle-grade page-turners, and as adults we developed our own areas of reading interests.

For many of us however, the passion for good stories comes from a variety of sources, such as graphic novels, comics, screenplays, as well as short stories and novels encompassing a wide variety of genres.  Houston’s annual Comicpalooza convention—which returns for the sixth year to the George R. Brown Convention Center on Memorial Day weekend, May 22 – 25, 2015—celebrates this fact. This popular convention, which has a host of literary activities planned, is expected to attract 45,000 people.

We talked to Vijay Kale, the curator of the literary activities, who shared more information about the convention with us.

INPRINT: Vijay, what initiated Comicpalooza to add a literary track of activities? Was it someone on the planning committee, was it feedback you received from the public, or was it something you conceived of?

VIJAY: The George R. Brown Convention Center enables Comicpalooza to use 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space to offer a wide range of events and content.  The ability to provide more than 2,200 hours of programming allowed for a Literary Track to include more than 50 literary panels and writers. We are extremely proud of the local and national talent assembled, which includes many well-known Texas-based writers as well as national best-selling authors. This year’s guest list and programming is the best so far, and we hope to further improve by including more professional writers and local organizations. Continue reading