Many literary festivals tend to be narrowly focused and only attract interest from scholars, he said. By addressing broader social issues, the festival draws participants from the larger university community, as well as from the public. Davis-Undiano said. The broader focus also highlights the power literature and other forms of art have to speak to the cultural realities of their time.
“We celebrate the fact that literature doesn't exist in a vacuum,” he said. “It's always in a social-cultural medium.”
The festival also includes the Oklahoma premier of “Girl Rising,” a documentary film that addresses poverty, disease and environmental issues, and how those problems affect girls and women nationwide. The screening also will include a panel discussion on human trafficking. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Meacham Auditorium in OU's Oklahoma Memorial Union.
In many cases, the film reaches the conclusion that educating girls is a solution to a number of problems, Davis-Undiano said. If a girl is able to receive an education, she is less likely to be in poverty or be the victim of violence.
“Educate a girl, and you really are having a huge impact on the world,” he said.
Most events are free and open to the public. Go to www.puterbaughfestival.org for a full schedule of events.