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Literature lovers are invited to the Leo Tolstoy Festival on Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 24.

The festival, hosted by the UT Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures and Knox County Public Library, will include talks by faculty, undergraduates, and a visiting scholar; a staged reading; and a public reading of Tolstoy’s works.

There also will be films screened at Hodges Library as well as a book club hosted by Knox County Public Library.

“I’ve initiated this Great Author Festival Series because the world’s greatest authors have tried to teach us so many things; we need to keep returning to them and re-engaging with their intense generosity of spirit,” said Stephen Blackwell, professor of Russian.

Events on Thursday include the following:

  • Michael Denner, associate professor of Russian studies at Stetson University, will present the keynote lecture, “Tolstoy and Celebrity… or: How They Stole Tolstoy’s Pants,” at 5:00 p.m. in Art and Architecture Building Room 113. Denner also serves as editor of Tolstoy Studies Journal and director of Stetson’s program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies.

    Earlier that day, Denner will present a lecture and discussion titled “Tolstoy on the Afterlife.” That talk will take place at 12:40 p.m. in Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 70.

  • Daniel Magilow will present “Tolstoy the Miniaturist: A Reading and Discussion of ‘Alyosha the Pot'” and Erika Knowles will present “Tolstoy and the Peasants” at the Round Table from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in the Mary E. Greer Room of Hodges Library.

Events on Friday include the following:

  • Sarah Eldridge will present “War and Peace and the History of the Novel” and Natalia Pervukhin will present “Tolstoy in Contemporary Russia” at the Round Table from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in the Mary E. Greer Room of Hodges Library.
  • UT Writers Read Tolstoy, a public reading, will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Melrose Hall Courtyard, between Hodges Library and Hess Hall.
  • A staged reading of Tolstoy’s Marriage in Letters and Diaries will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium in Hodges Library.

Various long and short films about Tolstoy based on his works will be screened all day April 23 and 24 in Hodges Library Room 213.


Stephen Blackwell (865-974-4536,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,