“Twenty Years of Celebrating Fitzgerald in Rockville”


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Norman Mailer, 2000 Fitzgerald Award recipient,
signing a book for a Festival attendee

The occasion of the 20th F. Scott Fitzgerald Festival is a good time to consider why the event started and why it is in Rockville. On October 29, Eileen McGuckian, Rockville historian and an organizer of the first festival, will present a whirlwind account of Fitzgerald celebrations in Rockville over the past two decades.

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Norman Mailer, 2000 Fitzgerald Award recipient,
signing a book for a Festival attendee
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James Salter, 2014 Fitzgerald Award honoree



From 1996, the centennial year of Fitzgerald’s birth, local admirers of the American legend have commemorated his connections to Rockville, Maryland, with special events. That first year, Rockville hosted 14 activities including a Jazz Age gala, a croquet contest, services at St. Mary’s Chapel, a guide to Rockville in the 1920s, and the first Literary Conference. 



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James Salter, 2014 Fitzgerald Award honoree

From the beginning, the basic components of the Conference have been panel discussions, keynote speakers, writing workshops, short story contests, and, as the centerpiece, presentation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature to a major author who spoke about personal connections to Fitzgerald and read from his or her work. Fitzgerald Award winners include many of this country’s leading writers of the last seven decades and, as a group, they have received 13 Pulitzer Prizes.

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E. Ethelbert Miller leading a Non-Fiction Workshop
at the 2015 Festival

Among the featured speakers at the Festival were people who knew Fitzgerald — Budd Schulberg, Frances Ring, Honoria Murphy Donnelly, and Fanny Myers Brennan — as well as scholars and writers such as A. Scott Berg, Azar Nafisi, Stewart O’Nan, Susan Cheever, and Jay Parini.

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Robert Olen Butler, 2013 Fitzgerald Award honoree,
teaching a Master Class

 

Join us on October 29 for a glance back at 20 years of Fitzgerald conferences and festivals as we reminisce about the art of writing and those who did it best.