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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

James Salter’s Time on Grounds

Jun 24, 2015 |
Gunter Gluecklich/Laif/Redux

Acclaimed American novelist James Salter, who served as the University of Virginia’s inaugural Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence last fall, died Friday in the eastern Long Island town of Sag Harbor, N.Y. He had celebrated his 90th birthday with friends nine days earlier, and Salter’s passing prompted a wave of remembrances and tributes to his legacy on National Public Radio and in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other national and international outlets.

During his semester at U.Va., Salter participated in a fiction-writing class with MFA students enrolled in the Department of English’s Creative Writing program, and his time on Grounds generated a buzz beyond Charlottesville and its literary community. His three public lectures and a reading of his works drew large, capacity crowds eager to hear from the author of such classics as “Light Years” and “A Sport and a Pastime.” 

Salter’s semester at U.Va. was funded by the Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Endowment, which was launched to bring writers of international stature to the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences to teach and engage with students. The program was inspired, in part, by William Faulkner’s time on Grounds in the late 1950s as the University’s first writer-in-residence.

As this video documenting Salter’s semester at U.Va. shows, Salter was a vibrant presence on Grounds as the new Kapnick program was launched.


University coverage of Salter’s residency:


National media coverage of Salter’s death: