Novelist, playwright and essayist Gore Vidal will speak at West Virginia University Monday, April 2, as part of the continuing Festival of Ideas lecture series.

Vidal, whose career has spanned six decades, will appear at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The event is being billed as a conversation, as Vidal will take questions from the audience.

This years Festival theme revolves around Abraham Lincoln in recognition of the opening of Lincoln Hall, WVU s new residential college. Coordinated through WVU Arts and Entertainment, the sessions explore Lincolns history, influence and legacy.

Vidal has written dozens of television plays, including the script for the television mini-series about Abraham Lincoln and the widely acclaimed novel,Lincoln.

The book is a fictional account of Lincolns challenging time in office and his fight to unite a disintegrating nation. The Washington Post called the book aportrait of Americas great president that is at once intimate and public, stark and complex and that will become for future generations the living Lincoln, the definitive Lincoln.

Sometimes controversial, Vidal writes about a wide variety of socio-political, sexual, historical and literary themes through novels, plays, film scripts and essays.

In addition to a major sequence of seven novels about American history, he has also written novels such asMyra BreckinridgeandDuluth.

In his latest work,Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson,Vidal discusses the personalities, egos and conflicts of the founding fathers as they developed the institutions of government that still exist today.

Other recent books,Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So HatedandDreaming of War: Blood for Oil and the Bush-Cheney Junta,are collections of essays investigating the roots and causes of the terrorist situation now facing the United States.

For more than a quarter century, Vidal was a literary and political critic forThe New York Review of Books.He has appeared as himself in the filmFellinis Romaand co-starred with Tim Robbins inBob Roberts.

In addition to his literary career, Vidal served on the Presidents Advisory Committee on the Arts and twice ran for national public office. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

These nationally and internationally acclaimed thinkers who are visiting our campussuch as Gore Vidalwill share their insights, and inspire thought, reflection and innovation,said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.

These lectures will deepen studentsclassroom learning and spark discussion among classmates and colleagues. Their ideas will help generate new ideas. I encourage all members of the WVU family and the larger community to attend.

Vidal also will appear at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater April 3 as part of the WVU -Charleston Gazette Festival of Ideas series.

All presentations are free and open to the public; however, seating is limited to a first-come, first-served basis. More on the Net: