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Unplugged: Event celebrates Conrad Aiken, his Savannah legacy

  • Conrad Aiken
 

Unplugged: Event celebrates Conrad Aiken, his Savannah legacy

26 Oct 2017

I don’t know if any Halloween revelers will be dressed as Conrad Aiken, but this weekend offers a rare chance to learn more about the underappreciated author, who was born in Savannah in 1889 and died here in 1973.

Everything about Aiken was remarkable in some way, including his parents’ deaths in a murder-suicide, his receipt of honors like the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, his friendship with Malcolm Lowry and other major literary figures, and even his gravestone at Bonaventure Cemetery, which is prominently featured in the opening scenes of John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Despite those and other fascinating details, most Savannahians know little about Aiken and his work, which I personally find quite dense and sometimes difficult to read. Having lived in Savannah for over 20 years, I frankly feel a little guilty that I haven’t gotten a better handle on Aiken.

In 2016, Orlando Montoya decided to shine some fresh light on Aiken and his legacy with an event at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Troup Square. That first gathering was a rousing success, so Montoya — who wears many hats around town since leaving Georgia Public Broadcasting a few years ago — has organized “Snow by Conrad Aiken,” which will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the UU Church, 311 E. Harris St.

I am fortunate to be one of the readers during the hour-long program, which centers on Aiken’s short story “Silent Snow, Secret Snow.” After the literary readings, ice cream will be served in the church social hall. You can learn more about the free program on the Facebook event page.

So that’s one quiet event in an otherwise jammed, traditionally crazy weekend. Savannah loves Halloween, and the weekend parties and shows will spill out into the streets.

If you find yourself looking for something to do before, after or instead of other events, you might just want to wander around West Congress Street, City Market and Ellis Square. You never know what you might see.

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged (www.billdawers.com) and hissing lawns (www.hissinglawns.com). Email billdawers@comcast.net.

IF YOU GO

What: “Snow by Conrad Aiken”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 28

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 311 E. Harris St.

Cost: Free

Info: Facebook event page

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