Hodges Library hosted their last "Writers in the Library" event for the semester.
The final reading on Monday featured Knoxville native and UT alumnus, author David Madden. Students and staff members gathered in the library auditorium to listen to a few excerpts from Madden's tenth, newly-released novel, "London Bridge in Plague and Fire."
"For all my books I've always come to Knoxville to give a reading because I have such a love of Knoxville," said Madden, who has participated in "Writers in the Library" events before. "I want to know that people in Knoxville know what is in my imagination and I want to be able to share it with them."
Charlie Sterchi, senior in English, attended Madden's reading for extra credit in his fiction writing class. Sterchi said he was impressed by Madden's resume and did not know he was such an experienced writer.
"Usually the speakers that they have are only mostly just fiction writers, but since David Madden writes not only fiction but also poetry, the audience was much wider, and he's a pretty prolific writer with 39 published works and all," Sterchi said.
Madden's new novel is a historical story that focuses on the original London Bridge created by Peter de Colechurch and how the poet in the story discovers more about the creator and the history behind the bridge. Madden said that the pieces he selected to read were chosen to connect back to each other so they can also complement each other.
"(During the reading) we're going back and forth between these sets of lives that are two or three centuries apart," Madden said. "The similarities are actually created by the poet because he is writing the stuff in the past, and so what is happening with him and his mistress, he tries to mirror in some way with what is actually happening."
To begin the reading, Madden played instrumental English music from the 19th century throughout the auditorium. Sterchi, who frequents the "Writers in the Library" events, said that he enjoyed Madden's original reading and special touch.
"I came in knowing that he is an animated reader but I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "Usually the authors don't have their own introduction music, but he definitely lived up to my expectations as an animated reader and he just really is an interesting guy."
Michael Knight, a professor of creative writing, said he is a big Madden fan and also appreciated Madden's style during his reading.
"His performance was essentially a condensed version of his whole novel," Knight said. "To do that kind of work for a reading and perform it like that, that was great."
When he was 14 years old, Madden said, he saw Lawrence Olivier's film "Henry V" with an an aerial shot of the original London Bridge, which had many shops and homes located on it at that time.
"When I saw that, it stuck in my mind and about 20 years later I thought about it again, and I kept thinking about it," Madden said.
Knight, whose favorite Madden works include two of his novels, "Sharpshooter" and "Bijou," inspired by the theatre downtown, said he liked Madden's selections for the reading.
"His reading had a performative aspect that many other writers that come here for these events do not have," Knight said. "That last part where he wasn't just reading a section of the novel but he actually somehow condensed his entire novel into one event and ... performed it."
Madden, who is currently 79 and working on seven different stories, said that even at his age the best feeling as a writer is being deeply involved in writing.
"I think that a writer's life is not the events, not the people that he's related to or the people he meets, but the experience he is having while writing is the most intense and powerful and memorable experiences of his life."
The Hodges Library's "Writers in the Library" program will begin again in the spring semester on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the library auditorium, featuring author and short story writer Adam Ross.