On ‘One Week in America’
Patrick Parr is the author of two books of nonfiction, both with Chicago Review Press. His first, “The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age,” was published in 2018 and described by The Wall Street Journal as “original, much-needed and even stirring.”
Patrick joined host Ted Fox via Zoom to talk about book No. 2, which was released earlier this year. Titled “One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation,” its appeal to us, a podcast produced at the University, was immediate. But Patrick doesn’t just chronicle what took place on the Notre Dame campus from Sunday, March 31, through Saturday, April 6, 1968, a story that features an almost unimaginably star-studded lineup of literary and political figures—brought to campus by a group of students, no less—and that included a red-carpet movie premiere in the most unlikely of venues.
No, the book doesn’t stop there because the festival didn’t exist in a vacuum, and during this particular week in America, that truth became evident in ways prominent and painful.
Patrick’s own story of how he came to research the 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival starts where a lot of good writing does: with a question that comes to you in the middle of the night.