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Horror Expert Launching Lecture Series

Noted Horror Expert to Launch New Lecture Series at UC Riverside

David J. Skal is the first of several authors to speak at UC Riverside as part of “Meet the Author” Series hosted by the UCR Library’s Special Collections

(September 24, 2002)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Sept. 18, 2002 — David J. Skal, the critically acclaimed author of "The Monster Show" and "Hollywood Gothic," will kick off a tour for his latest book, "Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween," with a free public lecture at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the University of California, Riverside.

This is the first in the newly inaugurated “Meet the Author” Lecture Series, organized by Melissa Conway, who directs UC Riverside’s Special Collections at Rivera Library on campus. The authors are either from UC Riverside, or relevant to some of the library’s rare collections, including the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Utopian Literature. They will speak on the library’s fourth floor, in the Special Collections Reading Room. David Skal’s books will be available for sale at the event, courtesy of the UC Riverside book store.

“It seems especially appropriate to launch David Skal’s book on the history of Halloween at the world’s largest catalogued collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature,” said Conway. “David Skal is the expert on horror films.”

She said other speakers include experts on Native Americans in honor of the library’s Costo Collection of Native American artifacts, as well as George Fujimoto, who documented his experiences in a Japanese internment camp in a series of diaries now owned by Special Collections.

Skal’s book digs into Halloween’s ancient roots in harvest rituals, uncovers the origins of Halloween’s icons of black hats and jack-o-lanterns, and explains the enduring popularity of Halloween, which is commercially second only to Christmas in terms of holiday spending in the U.S. He also takes on the topic of how the events of Sept. 11 may have transformed October 31 forever. He will sign books after his talk.

Skal first visited UC Riverside to look at rare first editions of the work of Jules Verne for a Disney documentary on the author. He has lectured extensively on genre cinema at leading colleges and universities. His media appearances have included Entertainment Tonight, Joan Rivers, Charlie Rose, The CBS Evening News, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

His book tour will start at UC Riverside and end Oct. 31 with an appearance on The Today Show.

All the lectures begin at 3 p.m. Other speakers in the series include:

Oct. 16 -- Susan Straight, professor of creative writing at UC Riverside, will speak and read from her novel, "Highwire Moon," a finalist for the National Book Award.

Nov. 20 -- Marlene Zuk, professor of biology at UC Riverside, will talk about her latest book, "Sexual Selections: What Animals Can and Cannot Teach us about Gender."

Dec. 5 -- Peter Nabakov, a UCLA anthropologist, will speak on "A Forest in Time: American Indian Ways of History."

Dec. 18 -- John Bloomberg-Rissman, an assistant director at the UCR Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, will read from his latest book of poems, "Only More Burning."

Jan. 15 -- Deborah Wong, an associate professor of music at UC Riverside, and George Fujimoto, Jr. will discuss their collaboration on the book "From Riverside To Poston: The Fujimoto Diaries."

Feb. 19 -- Piya Chatterjee, associate professor of women’s studies at UC Riverside, will discuss her book, "A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation."

March 12 -- Richard Godbeer, associate professor of history at UC Riverside, will speak on his book, "Sexual Revolution in Early America."

April 16 -- Margie Akin, an assistant research anthropologist at UC Riverside, will speak on her book, "Passionate Possessions, a book about what drives human beings to build collections."

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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