Updike fans, scholars gather in eastern Pa.

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READING, PA. (AP) - Rabid fans of the “Rabbit” novels have been meeting over the weekend in the author’s former eastern Pennsylvania stomping grounds for the first international conference of the John Updike Society.

The conference is at Alvernia University in Reading, where the acclaimed chronicler of American suburbia was born. Updike was raised in nearby Shillington. He wrote more than 60 books, won Pulitizers for “Rabbit Is Rich” and “Rabbit at Rest,” and also won two National Book Awards.

James Plath, professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University, tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that the idea of such a society was nixed by the author while he was alive, but took off when he died last year at the age of 76.

Members hope to encourage the study and teaching of Updike works.

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