Author and screenwriter Benjamin Percy will make an Oct. 5 visit to BGSU for a public reading of his seventh novel, "The Sky Vault," followed by a question-and-answer session. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Donnell Theater at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. (Photo by Arnab Chakladar)

BGSU to welcome acclaimed author and screenwriter Benjamin Percy as part of Creative Minds Series

Estimated Reading Time:  

Percy will speak Oct. 5 at the Donnell Theater followed by a question-and-answer session

As an art, storytelling has more avenues than ever before — modern creative writers can find new audiences in podcasts, graphic novels, comic books, films, audio books and video games, among others, to complement the classic novel.

Benjamin Percy, acclaimed author and screenwriter, is one of the present-day authors who found success in more than one art, turning his storytelling acumen into writing comic books for both Marvel and D.C., co-writing feature films, writing an influential scripted podcast series and more. 

As part of the 2023 Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds Series, Percy will make an Oct. 5 visit to Bowling Green State University for a public reading and an audience question-and-answer session followed by book signings. Books will be available for sale at the event.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Donnell Theater in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

Dr. Lawrence Coates, a professor of English and Creative Writing at BGSU who helped organize the event, said Percy serves as an example of what is possible for the modern storyteller.

“Ben’s way of branching out from literary fiction and starting to find other media that allow him to tell stories to large audiences is part of a general trend in our culture," Coates said. "He produces work for comic books, produces work for scripted podcasts and writes screenplays, and one of the goals of the Creative Minds endowment is to find ways that the various arts units can cross-fertilize.

"Ben is not just an accomplished fiction writer, but he’s a writer who goes across different platforms."

Percy's craft book on creative writing, “Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction,” is taught in many college creative writing classes, including at BGSU.

He first entered the comic book world in 2014, when he wrote two Batman issues for Detective Comics, which has led to additional credits writing on franchises that include James Bond, Teen Titans, Green Arrow and Nightwing.

Percy co-wrote the film "Summering" with director James Ponsoldt, which debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and his Wolverine audio drama won an iHeart Radio Award for best scripted podcast in 2018.

He currently writes Wolverine, Ghost Writer and X-Force comics for Marvel, an exercise that he says contributed to his career as a novelist. 

“Comics in general have made me a better novelist, but it’s also brought people to my doorstep who might otherwise not have discovered my novels, and I’m appreciative for that,” Percy told Minnesota Public Radio last month.

The Sky Vault” is the third in the Comet Cycle series, joining the already published “The Ninth Metal” and “The Unfamiliar Garden.” Percy designed the science fiction series to be read in any order rather than chronologically. 

He said he wanted the Comet Cycle to be his own version of a comic-book universe with which he became familiar through his work with Marvel and D.C.

“I’ve been writing for Marvel and D.C. for going on 10 years, and I decided that, as much fun as it is writing for these characters, they don’t belong to me,” Percy told MPR. “So I wanted to create my own sandbox — my own kind of Marvel or D.C. universe.”

Made possible by a donation from the late Mary Cranker in honor of her father, the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds Series highlights the importance of the arts at BGSU and beyond.

The idea of blending storytelling and art is already part of the BGSU curriculum in places like the Word and Image minor, a collaboration between the BGSU Department of English and School of Art that allows students to jointly explore the making of creative works like Percy’s. 

“We did that because there is interest in students finding ways to use the storytelling skills they develop in the creative writing program with the visual representation skills they develop in the School of Art,” Coates said. “We’ve been trying to bridge the gaps between the various arts to help create a richer educational experience for our students and contribute to the culture of the campus.

"Someone like Ben Percy, who is able to talk about writing scripts that are made to go with pictures, can contribute to the educational experience of students in theater and film, but also brings something to the table for students studying graphic representations of story."

Related Stories

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 10/03/2023 03:31PM