John Green returned to Butler University with the same wit and charm he carried onto campus last spring, as well as some new material.
Green, a New York Times best-selling author and co-creator of the YouTube channel VlogBrothers, spoke at Clowes Memorial Hall last night, his first appearance at Butler since his commencement speech at last year’s graduation.
Green’s presence and speaking were part of Butler’s first Writers’ Harvest, a benefit for the Indianapolis-based non-profit community kitchen Second Helpings.
He read from his best-selling book, “The Fault In Our Stars,” to an admiring audience, and surprised the crowd by reading a chapter from new material he’s been working on.
“I like doing this, so I’ll keep reading,” Green said.
So he read another chapter, and the audience kept on listening.
There were several other writers who spoke before Green, all of whom are part of Butler’s Master of Fine Arts program.
Allyson Horton, who is earning her MFA in poetry, read three poems with topics ranging from Uncle Ben’s rice to reality television.
The second speaker, Ben Winters, is an adjunct professor in the MFA program. He read a section from his novel, “The Last Policeman,” the first installment of a trilogy about a dinosaur-age-ending-like asteroid approaching earth.
“My books are considered mystery novels, but if that’s the case, then all books should called mystery novels,” Winters said. “Every book has a sense of mystery that keeps the reader’s attention.”
The third speaker before Green was Susan Neville, an English professor who has written seven books, including one on Butler basketball.
She read from a non-fiction selection that picked apart her observations about her peculiar neighbors.
In a pre-show interview, Green said he has admiration for Butler’s MFA program and the values of the university.
“The values here embody the Butler Way,” Green said. “People take those values seriously here.”
Green is well known for the TFiOS book, which just wrapped filming for the book-based movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. It has a June 2014 release date.
“I’m here to read and tell a few jokes,” Green said, “and hopefully get a lot of food donated (to Second Helpings).”
Admission was free, but attendees were asked to bring a non-perishable item such as a bag of rice or a box of pasta.
The festival was originally scheduled to be held in the Reilly Room, but was moved to Clowes after the large crowd was expected.
In Green’s last visit, Butler presented him with an honorary doctorate as part of the ceremony.
“All our readers tonight are a part of Butler’s MFA program— well, other than Mr. Green,” said Dan Barden, MFA creative writing professor, who introduced each speaker. “Our hope is, one day, we’ll get John Green to be a part of it, too.”