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Faulkner at Virginia Photo
Photograph by Ralph Thompson
© Rector and Visitors, University of Virginia

During the 1957 and 1958 Spring semesters, William Faulkner was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia. During that time he appeared at thirty-six different public events, reading from his work and answering over 1400 questions from students, faculty and others. Thanks to two members of the Department of English, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, most of those sessions were recorded, and preserved on tape in the University of Virginia Special Collections Library. Over 28 hours of the recordings have been digitized, and are available online in the Faulkner at Virginia audio archive . The mp3 clip available below has been taken from that archive, and is playable on most devices.

“Shingles for the Lord” Audio Clip

NOTE: Faulkner read this story to two different audiences during his first term as Writer-in-Residence: to a group of teachers from "Virginia colleges" gathered at UVA (15 April 1957); and ten days later to an audience at Mary Washington College (25 April 1957). You can hear either or both at the Faulkner at Virginia archive. The audiences obviously enjoyed the story, but asked only the one question below.

How true to life is this story? (15 April 1957; 0:42)

How true to life is this story? (15 April 1957; 0:42)

William Faulkner: Yes, sir.

Unidentified participant: What would you say would be the relation in this rather charming story you just read to the—what kind of lumber did you take from fact to build this story? What would you know [of] and see and hear, and how did you shape it to make it different from what you might have known in life?

William Faulkner: Well, these people that I know, they are my people, and I love them. They might well have—have done this. I just got to it before they did. [audience laughter]