OSU Hosts Lynda Barry Reading for Stone Award Acceptance

Cartoonist, author and teacher Lynda Barry will deliver a virtual reading at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, as the 2021 recipient of Oregon State University’s Stone Award for Literary Achievement. 

Though Stone Award recipients usually visit OSU’s Corvallis campus to receive their award in person, Barry’s event will be livestreamed via Zoom and YouTube Live. The evening will include a remote award presentation, a 20-minute reading by Barry and a question-and-answer period. The presentation is free and open to all. Register here.   

Barry is known for her long-running comic strip, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” which she started as an undergraduate at Evergreen State College in Washington. She has also written 21 books, was a frequent guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” and taught a popular writing workshop, “Writing the Unthinkable,” which was featured in the New York Times Magazine in 2011. 

OSU’s Stone Award aims to celebrate authors who have contributed important literary works and gone above and beyond to mentor the next generation of writers. 

Barry embodies all that and more, said Karen Holmberg, director of OSU’s Master of Fine Arts creative writing program and an associate professor in the School of Writing, Literature and Film. 

“Lynda Barry provides something very dear to every writing teacher’s heart: the confidence-raising, absolute faith that each of us can give voice to our hearts and our experience,” Holmberg said. “She affirms that all humans are — from childhood on — meaning makers, sometimes in word, sometimes in image, often in both.” 

At $25,000, the Stone Award is one of the most significant literary prizes given by a university in the U.S. It was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone with a gift to the OSU Foundation to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Writing, Literature and Film. Previous recipients include Colson Whitehead, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff and Rita Dove. 

In the past, award winners have also given readings, master classes and lectures to creative writing students at OSU during their visit. Organizers are planning for Barry to come to Corvallis during the 2021-22 academic year to connect with students for question-and-answer sessions and to visit art studios.