Toby Thompson to read from published works on Jan. 28

January 12, 2021

Toby Thompson, Penn State associate professor of English, will read from his published works as part of the annual Mary E. Rolling Reading Series. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be held virtually at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28.

Thompson has written six nonfiction books, including: "Positively Main Street: Bob Dylan’s Minnesota"; "Saloon"; "The ’60s Report"; "Riding the Rough String: Reflections on the American West"; and "Metroliner – Passages: Washington to New York." He has written for publications as diverse as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Gray’s Sporting Journal, GQ, Men’s Journal, Sports Afield, Playboy, Outside, Big Sky Journal, Western Art & Architecture, The New York Times, and The Washington Post during his career.

Thompson's most recent book, "Fired On: Targeting Western American Art," published in March 2020 by Bangtail Press, joins "Riding the Rough String" and "Metroliner" to complete a trilogy of collected pieces of reportorial nonfiction, personal essays, and profiles. The book, which takes its name from the 1907 oil painting by Frederic Remington, explores three centuries of art in Western America and paints a larger portrait of the West and its inhabitants.

Thompson describes the collection as “eclectic … comprised of brief lives and random asides, saloon tributes and artist profiles, book and music notices. The earliest was written in 1983, the latest in 2019.” Author Carl Hiaasen calls it a "...first-rate collection, impressively diverse and vastly enjoyable. Toby Thompson is blessed with that rare journalistic talent for painting epic pictures with small, unforgettable details."

Thompson has taught nonfiction writing at Penn State for over 30 years. He divides his time between State College and his homes in Livingston, Montana, and Cabin John, Maryland.

The Mary E. Rolling Reading Series is a program offered by Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English that receives generous support from the College of the Liberal Arts, the Department of English, the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment, the Mary E. Rolling Lectureship in Creative Writing, and University Libraries.

Those interested in attending Thompson's reading can click here to join via Zoom.


  • Fired On Toby Thompson

    "Fired On: Targeting Western American Art," by Toby Thompson (Penn State associate professor of English)

    IMAGE: Provided by Penn State Department of English

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 15, 2021