The Agee Amble
March 24, 2017 · Regal Riviera · 5:00 P.M.
Join us for a literary pub crawl dedicated to Knoxville’s most famous literary native son, James Agee. Immediately following our screening of Farrebique and the celebration of the publication of Agee’s Complete Film Criticism (edited by University of Tennessee professor Charles Maland), we’ll visit sites on Gay Street, Market Square, and points in between. Short readings of Agee’s film works will be performed, and beverages will be consumed. There may even be a surprise or two along the way.
James Agee (1909-1955) is one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, his legendary collaboration with Walker Evens, documented the lives of three white sharecropper families. His screenplays include The African Queen and Night of the Hunter. A Death in the Family, his posthumously published 1957 novel, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Agee’s film criticism for The Nation, Time, and Life (among others) was called “the most remarkable regular event in American journalism today” by W. H. Auden and had an lasting influence on critics Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, and Roger Ebert, among countless others.
Jack Neely, who will be leading the amble, is the author of several books and the Executive Director of the Knoxville History Project. Born in Japan during the reign of the Emperor Hirohito, Neely is a UT graduate and, among other things, a former truck driver, piledriver-crew supervisor, Egyptian museum guide, and criminal-defense investigator. After six years as an editor for humor, fiction, and other magazines published by Whittle Communications, he worked as a freelance journalist. In 1992 Metro Pulse debuted his column, “Secret History.” Since then, his writing has won several awards, including the East Tennessee Historical Society’s “History in the Media” award and the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place award in the newspaper columns category. Neely has also worked as a consultant and project writer for various historical and cultural projects, including the BBC’s 1995 and 2007 audio documentaries about James Agee and Knoxville’s live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion (1999). He has lectured on journalism, history, architecture, music, and literature at UT, Maryville College, and other institutions.