It’s proving to be a good year for St. Paul and its favorite son, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A collection of Fitzgerald’s “lost” stories (not truly lost, simply never published) will come out this spring from his longtime publisher, Scribner. There’s a new biography on the horizon from Harvard University Press.
And the annual international F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference will take place here this summer in the writer’s hometown for only the second time in its history.
You know what that means — tours of Fitzgerald’s old neighborhoods, and photo exhibits of Fitzgerald’s life, and “Gatsby Night” at the St. Paul Saints, and pool parties and live jazz and bus trips to White Bear Lake and Sauk Centre.
(Why Sauk Centre? Just to throw in a little history of that other great Minnesota writer, Sinclair Lewis.)
It also means scholarly papers and serious presentations, of course, with keynotes by Fitzgerald scholars James L.W. West III of Penn State, Anne Margaret Daniel, and others. There will be more than 75 presentations by scholars from all over the world.
Minnesota writers will also take part, including Kao Kalia Yang, Ellen Hart, William Kent Krueger and others.
The international conference is held every other year, alternating between the United States and Europe. It was first (and last) held in St. Paul in 2002.
The conference usually attracts about 300 scholars and academics, but many of the events are open to the public at large. Registration is open and will continue through April 15. (Check out Fitzgerald2017.org, where you can also find a full schedule of events both social and academic.)
The conference, which will run from June 25 to July 1, explores the theme “was student — am now writer,” words taken from Fitzgerald’s World War I discharge papers that describe his transformation from boy to man.