He was known for the quote “the only people for me are the mad ones,” and Jack Kerouac is still being remembered with a birthday party for his official 95th birthday on March 12, 2017. The celebration in his hometown is not the only way Jack Kerouac’s name will come up in the headlines in 2017, and it was revealed because of that birthday party that his list of unpublished works is practically endless.
Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac died at age 47 in St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 21, 1969, of an abdominal hemorrhage thought to be attributed to alcoholism. A few days later, he was buried in Edson Cemetery, South Lowell, Massachusetts.
When he died, Jack Kerouac’s estate was only worth $1, according to Telegraph, and he was not famous. Alternatively, the way most people remember Jack Kerouac today is as one of the most popular American authors of the 20th century, and in 2009 his estate was valued at $20 million.
In fact, Jack Kerouac is long from forgotten decades after his death, and his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, celebrated Jack Kerouac for his 95th birthday. According to Boston Herald, on March 11, the event was held at the Pollard Library where Jack Kerouac checked out his first books.
The rest of the night included a concert by the Neverly Brothers at Zorba’s Music Hall, which was dedicated to Jack Kerouac. Fans also read their favorite passages from some of Jack Kerouac’s work. The celebration of Jack Kerouac also included his lesser-known works outside of novels such as On the Road, Mexico City Blues, Big Sur, Dharma City Bums, or Visions of Cody.
Nevertheless, Jack Kerouac continues to generate interest from fans in 2017 because his estate releases previously unpublished work regularly. For example, Jack Kerouac’s The Sea Is My Brother was not published until 2011, but he wrote it in 1942 when he was 20.
In 1997, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s previously unpublished musings on Buddhism were put together into a collection called Some of the Dharma.
Adding to this, Jack Kerouac is still a subject of documentaries that feature his life as a novelist. The Lowell Sun spoke with Sean Thibodeau, the organizer for the Jack Kerouac 95th birthday celebration, and Pollard Library Coordinator of Community Planning, and they said Kerouac will be featured in an upcoming documentary series titled French en Amérique.
Part of the series will be filmed in Lowell, Massachusetts, by Slalom Productions of Ottawa, and Fair-Play Productions of Montreal, Canada. This documentary will feature Jack Kerouac, due to his French-Canadian ancestry, and he wrote many of his works in French.
This is not to be confused with another Jack Kerouac documentary currently in production by Kristy Anderson titled, Jack Kerouac’s Florida: The End of the Road, according to TBO.
Although a book was published in 2016 called The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished & Newly Translated Writings, Sean Thibodeau says this is not the last “unpublished” piece of writing Jack Kerouac fans will see in coming years.
“Kerouac was such a prolific writer that there are still many manuscripts in both languages that have not been published. I don’t know if they’ll ever get to the bottom of the Kerouac estate.”
Fans are also continuing to honor Jack Kerouac in unique ways. Howard Neville, a sculptor from Colorado, will be creating a life-size Jack Kerouac in 2017, according to Summit Daily.
Although it has not been determined where the new sculpture will be placed, Howard Neville and Jack Kerouac writer Dawn Mathews want it to be near “U.S. 40 between Berthoud Pass and the Utah border,” after Mathews publishes her 2017 book, An Ode to Jack Kerouac and Highway 40.
Other interesting headlines from Jack Kerouac long after his death include Kerouac memorabilia. In 2016, Christie’s auction house put up a letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac that was estimated to sell for $400,000.
Originally written on December 17, 1950, the letter to Jack Kerouac was considered “lost” for many decades, but it was commonly referenced by Beat Generation writers because it was seen as a turning point or inspiration.
Fans that want to pay a private tribute to Jack Kerouac can visit his grave at Edson Cemetery on 1375 Gorham Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. According to Boston Globe, there are also other key markers throughout the city of Lowell that honor Jean Louis Lebris de Kerouac.
However, for fans that need other Jack Kerouac fans in their lives, the answer is not his birthday, but the month of October.
Since Jack Kerouac loved Lowell his entire life, and once wrote that October is the best month for a homecoming, the town honors their favorite son with a festival.
According to the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac website, the 2017 festival will be held on October 5 to October 9 with a memorial walk on October 21.
The festival has been held since 1988, and the 2017 Jack Kerouac celebrations will include the anniversaries of On the Road, the film Pull My Daisy, and Kerouac’s first 1957 performance as part of the Jazz Poetry Trio.
[Feature Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]