Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

October 2012

Rose State College Professor is Author of Movie-Bound Novel “The Spectacular Now”


Rose State's Tim Tharp.

Rose State College humanities professor Tim Tharp is the author of “The Spectacular Now,” a young adult novel being made into a movie.

It is not often that a would-be writer breaks through and becomes a National Book Award nominee. Even less likely is when a movie is made based on that book.

However, that is the case with Rose State College humanities professor Tim Tharp. His 2008 young adult novel, “The Spectacular Now,” is being made into a movie of the same name, which wrapped up production this summer in Georgia.

“I was able to see a couple of key scenes being filmed which made me feel that the movie was going to be very well-acted and that the tone will reflect my novel. So I think it will be a really good movie,” Tharp said.

“The Spectacular Now” is the story of Sutter Keely, a high school senior who “lives in the moment and wants everyone to live in the moment,” Tharp says, and “a lot of this involves partying and drinking.” Keely’s life changes, however, when he befriends a high school girl who is a social misfit and Keely discovers he has a powerful effect on the lives of others.

As a humanities professor at Rose State College, Tharp says he’s able to draw from the experiences of his students, many of whom are entering college for the first time and, thus, such experiences and transitions are still fresh.

“I’m around teenagers all day. Some people have talked about the voice of Sutter Keely—it’s written in first person in the novel—and it’s probably easier for me to be a little bit more used to how teenagers talk because I’m around them all the time. I even teach a speech class where they get up and talk in front of me,” Tharp said. “I think the young adult genre is so important because I never have been as influenced by books as much as when I was a teenager or a young adult in my 20s,"

In addition to “The Spectacular Now,” Tharp’s first novel, “Falling Dark” (Milkweed Press), was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. “Knights of the Hill Country” (Knopf Books for Young Readers), his first novel for young adults, was on the American Library Association's Best Books of 2007 list. His most recent novel, “BADD” (Knopf, 2011), tells the story of how war affects the family of a returning soldier.

Directed by James Ponsoldt, the movie’s cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Bob Odenkirk, Kyle Chandler and Miles Teller. The movie is due to be released in 2013.

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