Novelist, essayist Gore Vidal to speak at Vanderbilt on Sept. 11

Vanderbilt University will host “A Conversation with Gore Vidal” Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m. in Benton Chapel as part of its Project Dialogue series. The event is free and open to the public.

Gore is an outspoken critic of the American political establishment and a noted wit and social critic. Gore wrote the The City and the Pillar in 1948, which created controversy as the first major American novel to feature unambiguous homosexuality. In November 2003, Howard Auster, Vidal's life partner since 1951, died

Frank Wcislo, Vanderbilt dean and associate professor of history, will have a conversation with Vidal during which the author will be asked to reflect on “why we hate” – the theme of this year’s Project Dialogue series. Project Dialogue is a yearlong, university-wide program that seeks to involve the entire Vanderbilt community in public discourse and reflection and connect classroom learning with larger societal issues. A question and answer session with the audience will follow Vidal’s remarks.

Vidal’s career spans six decades – from shortly after World War II to the early 21st century. He has written seven novels on American history, several satirical novels including – Myra Breckinridge, Duluth, Live From Golgotha and The Smithsonian Institution – dozens of television plays and film scripts, and three mystery novels. He has also written more than 100 essays published in volumes between 1962 and 2001.

In 1960, Vidal ran for Congress as a liberal Democrat in New York’s Republican 29th District. Given the conservative bent of the area, he was defeated. However, he won more votes in his district than John F. Kennedy, who headed the Democratic ticket. He tried politics again in 1982 running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in California. He finished second on a crowded ballot behind well-known California politician Jerry Brown.

For more information about Project Dialogue, visit

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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