Drum roll!!! Signum University and The Texas Literature & Language Symposium are proud to announce our special guest speakers for TexMoot 2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Alan Sisto (“The Man of the West”) and Shawn E. Marchese (“the Real-life Lord of the Mark”) of The Prancing Pony Podcast! They will participate in our VIP panel “Sing, O Muse!” to address the questions of whether/in what ways oral genres have survived and thrive right now and how to find one’s own voice in their chosen genre/medium. And they will close the official symposium activities with a jointly-delivered keynote speech about the art(s) and craft(s) of podcasting and voice acting, whether podcasting can be considered a literary genre, and podcasting’s relationship to oral storytelling. (We’re hoping there may be a performative aspect to this presentation, too!)

You probably already know these guys from their podcast, but you may not know everything about their work, including Alan’s professional voice acting work, so do check out their bios below. And join us in January to welcome Alan and Shawn to TexMoot 2019! 

Alan has been reading Professor Tolkien’s works regularly since his youth, which now seems as far in the past as the Years of the Lamps. Delighting in all things Tolkien, he particularly enjoys reading the lesser-known works (like “On Fairy-Stories” or “Leaf by Niggle”), as well as books about Tolkien: biographies by Carpenter, Garth and Shippey line his shelves. If he could live anywhere in Middle-earth, it would indeed be The Shire—a quiet hobbit hole in the hills with a well-stocked library, surrounded by family. And pantries full of good food. Alan lives with his wife and their two small hobbi— uh, children—in the very un-Shirelike region of Southern California. Alan is a narration and commercial voiceover artist, and you can hear his work at alansisto.com. He is also an architectural and product photographer, and you can see his work at freshpageimages.com.

A lover of languages and mythology since childhood, Shawn discovered Tolkien’s work during his impressionable teenage years and was amazed to discover a secondary world having more in common with the myths and legends he’d grown up with than with the stacks of sword-and-sorcery novels yellowing on his shelves (and far fewer occurrences of the word “rogue”). Shawn is most drawn to the sweeping mythology of Middle-earth from Valinor to Beleriand and beyond. And as a tenth-level word nerd, Shawn finds a constant source of linguistic delights in Tolkien’s invented languages. Pursuing by day a rather Bagginsy professional career in Central Texas, Shawn has indulged his Tookish side by moonlighting as an independent film producer, writer, and blogger when not indulging in nightly readings of The Silmarillion to impress his wife and put his two young children to sleep.

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