Author and UC Davis graduate Anthony Swofford is scheduled to give two readings at his alma mater on May 24: one from Jarhead, his Marine Corps memoir, and the other from his recently published first novel, Exit A.
Both programs are free and open to the public. The sponsors are the Department of English, the Humanities Institute, the Pacific Regional Humanities Center and the Teaching Resources Center.
Swofford served as a sniper with the first wave of U.S. troops into Iraq in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He returned to Sacramento, his hometown, and attended American River College and UC Davis, working nights as a warehouseman to finance his education.
The English major won a handful of writing awards, received a bachelor's degree in 1999, and then attended the vaunted Writing Workshops in Fiction at the University of Iowa, where he began Jarhead.
Michiko Kakutani, writing in The New York Times Book Review, described the 2003 book as "by turns profane and lyrical, swaggering and ruminative," and "not only the most powerful memoir to emerge from the gulf wars, but also a searing major contribution to the literature of combat, a book that combines the black humor of Catch-22 with the savagery of Full Metal Jacket and the visceral detail of The Things They Carried."
Jarhead the movie, made by Sam Mendes, came out in 2005, with Jake Gyllenhall and Jamie Foxx in starring roles.
Exit A tells of the turbulent and haunting adolescent (and later adult) love affair between Severin Boxx, a 17-year-old military brat at a U.S. air base near Tokyo and the punky siren Virginia Sachiko Kindwall, the half-Japanese daughter of the base commander who is also Boxx's football coach.
Swofford's appearances are scheduled as follows:
3-4:30 p.m. -- He is due to read from Jarhead and take questions from the audience. 194 Young Hall.
7:30 p.m. -- A reading from Exit A, followed by a book sale and signing. 126 Voorhies Hall.
For more information, call English lecturer Jack Hicks, (530) 752-1658.