Hall Center For The Humanities


Michael Byers
Michael Byers
Professor of English at the University of Michigan

"Percival's Planet-A Novel"
Special Events

Tue., Apr. 19, 2011, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Co-sponsored by the Hall Center, the KU Bookstore, the KU Memorial Unions, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and The Commons
Location: Kansas Union Ballroom

In 2006, Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. In 2007, the American Dialect Society selected the term "plutoed" as its 2006 Word of the Year meaning "to be demoted or devalued, as was the former planet Pluto." But 2010 brought us the 80th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto, and the publication of Percival's Planet by Michael Byers.

The richly imagined novel of Depression-era America is inspired by the true story of the Kansas farm boy, Clyde Tombaugh, who made the discovery of Pluto at Lowell Observatory and later earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kansas. Michael Byers spent five years researching the search for Planet X. He visited Lowell Observatory, hunted in dusty archives for Tombaugh's letters and observation journals, slept on the mountaintop with astronomers, and interviewed those who knew Tombaugh and his circle.

Byers is the author of the story collection, The Coast of Good Intentions, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the acclaimed novel Long for This World, winner of the First Novel Award from Virginia Commonwealth University. Both were New York Times Notable Books. A former Stegner Fellow and Whiting Award winner, he is a professor of English at the University of Michigan.

A book signing will follow the talk, which is free and open to the public.

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