A Confederacy of Dunces Celebrates 35 Years of Success

Pulitzer Prize winner…check. One of LSU Press’s top selling books of all time…check. Famous actor playing the lead role in its theatrical debut in Boston…check.

I am talking none other than the all-time favorite literacy classic published by LSU Press, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

On November 18th, the play adaptation will make its debut at Huntington Theatre in Boston, MA, under the direction of David Esbjornson, starring Nick Offerman, (“Parks & Recreation”) as the larger-than-life character Ignatius J. Reilly.

“People responded to the book so intensely that we all wanted to see the characters and plot come alive either on the screen or on the stage,” says MaryKatherine Callaway, Director of LSU Press.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of the iconic book that has enamored audiences worldwide. So one begs to question—why the theatrical debut now?   According to Callaway, several producers floated the idea of adapting the book for the stage over the years, but it was not until John Hardy decided to license rights that the play became a reality.  The Boston production runs until December 13th.  The play will later make its way to Broadway in New York, NY or the West End in London, England.

The LSU Press continues to publish the hardcover edition, which has never been out of print since its original publication in 1980. It is also one of four Pulitzer Prize winning books published by LSU Press.  According to Callaway, A Confederacy of Dunces catapulted LSU Press into the national spotlight. “LSU Press always had a great reputation among scholars, but this was a whole new audience for the Press.”  Over the years, the book has sold more than six million copies worldwide and has been published in 35 different foreign editions.

Callaway plans to attend the opening night performance saying, “It’s going to be an amazing event.”