Award-winning author to culturally enhance WKU tonight

Andrew Critchelow

British author Neil Gaiman will share his literary vision at Van Meter Hall as part of WKU’s Cultural Enhancement Series.

During tonight’s event, Gaiman will take part in an onstage interview along with a Q&A portion with audience members. David Bell, associate professor in the department of English and an author in his own right, will conduct the interview.

“My goal is to ask questions that will get Neil Gaiman talking as much as possible,” Bell said. “Hopefully at the end of the interview, people will say, ‘Wow, wasn’t Neil Gaiman fascinating?’”

Born in Portchester, England, in 1960, Gaiman started his writing career in the 1980s and has since developed a writing style that covers multiple genres of fiction. He has written in several mediums such as novels, comic books and screenwriting.

Some of Gaiman’s best-selling works include the fantasy novel and television series “Neverwhere,” the dark fantasy comic book series “The Sandman” and “Coraline,” a children’s novella. His works have been recognized for many awards over the years, including the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award and the Carnegie Medal.

“I think he belongs in the same conversation with people like Ray Bradbury and J. R. R. Tolkien,” Bell said. “I think he’s been a huge influence over fantasy writing, and I think his books are going to be read for a long, long time.”

Lawrence Snyder, chairman of the Cultural Enhancement Series Committee, said Gaiman was an easy call for this year’s series lineup.

“There’s been a very positive reaction to the announcement of his coming,” Snyder said. “He crosses so many different frontiers in his work that he appeals to a very broad audience.”

Along with Bell’s onstage interview with Gaiman, attendants of the event will also have the opportunity to write out questions for Gaiman as they enter Van Meter Hall. This audience Q&A session will take up the last 20 to 30 minutes of the event.

Snyder said the audience should be quite diverse based on Gaiman’s wide attraction in the literary community.

“He appeals to a very broad demographic,” Snyder said. “We’re going to have a good student turnout, but I expect we’re going to get a lot of attendants from the community as well.”

Eli Allen, a freshman from Owensboro, thinks Neil Gaiman is a great addition to the Cultural Enhancement Series.

“I’m super excited for Neil Gaiman to come,” Allen said. “He’s a very creative and intelligent man.”

David Bell said all students attending the event will have something to learn regardless of their academic background.

“It doesn’t matter what your major is; you have something to learn from someone who writes about such a broad variety of topics,” he said. “I think students are really going to broaden their horizons by hearing what this guy has to say.”