The Nova Convention was held November 30-December 2, 1978, in New York City in honor of Burroughs and his influential body of work. Called “the Charles Dickens of our age” by poet Anne Waldman, Burroughs’s influence was far-reaching as the 1970s drew to a close— Burroughs’s Naked Lunch was central to the 1960s psychedelic aesthetic; his cut-up technique deconstructed the linearity of narrative and influenced musicians like David Bowie, whose 1974 album Diamond Dogs was composed using cut-ups; his dystopian landscapes set the stage for science fiction cyberpunk; and the developing iconic persona of Burroughs was enthusiastically incorporated by the punk rock scene.
The convention brought together artists, writers, and musicians for three days of lectures, panel discussions, films, exhibitions, performances, readings, and concerts.
Shown here is a program sent by Brion Gysin to Paul Bowles including Gysin’s handwritten edits to the line-up: most notably, Frank Zappa filled in for Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, whose originally scheduled appearance had been a major draw. (MSS 163, Paul Bowles papers)
Check out more from Special Collections’s current gallery exhibition Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted: William S. Burroughs at 100 at http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/burroughs/intro.html