Award-winning humorist comes to campus

by Student Writer Karah Wilson

Renowned author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Barry will speak at Norton Auditorium as part of UNA’s Distinguished Events Series Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

Admission to “The Wit and Wisdom of Dave Barry” talk will be free. Barry will also host a book signing afterward.

“We expect him to entertain us with his general views on everyday life that most anyone in the audience will be able to relate to, regardless of age,” said Deborah Shaw, vice president for university advancement.

Barry is well-known for his columns in the Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005, during which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, as well as his influence in the International Talk Like a Pirate Day observance.

He has also written over 30 books, two of which served as inspiration for the ‘90s CBS sitcom “Dave’s World” and one adapted into the 2002 film “Big Trouble” starring Tim Allen.

Shaw, who helped put the event together, said Barry will be the speaker because it seemed important to host a guest with national recognition.

“A lot of people grew up reading him and know him, and he has won numerous awards throughout his career,” she said.

Past guests of the UNA Distinguished Events Series include various actors, authors and performers.

Shaw said she believes having Barry at the event is a good way to get students to attend, especially those interested in writing.

“Even if you have not heard of Dave Barry, you are going to enjoy listening to Dave Barry,” she said. “Almost anybody can relate to anything he has to share, and he does it in a way that is funny, which makes it very easy to listen to him. You will be entertained by hearing him speak, but you will also learn something at the same time.”

Senior Baylie Peterson said having an event with a humorist author can benefit students interested in writing by showing the different directions a writing career can go.

“Especially in college, you’re geared to more look at the classics, whereas if you bring in other authors, students can see (they) more than just write a textbook or serious novel,” she said. “You can always take your career in a different direction, and it’s still going to be beneficial to you.”

Freshman Joshua Cook said inviting an author to speak about humorous work rather than serious writing should not be a problem for  the university.

“Everybody’s got their own traits,” he said. “The way you write defines who you are.”