Medgar Evers to host reading series

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College will host the John Oliver Killens Reading Series entitled “Literary Activists of the Indignant Generation” on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the E.O. Jackson Auditorium – 1638 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11225.

“This exciting discussion is part of an ongoing dialogue on literature by writers of color at the College,” said Center for Black Literature Director Dr. Brenda Greene. “We look forward to presenting more opportunities for the public to expand their knowledge of this literature and to engage in discussions with writers and scholars on these literary themes and trends. ”

Penn State University Professor Keith Gilyard and Emory University Professor Lawrence P. Jackson will talk about the influences for their recent works in an exciting discussion moderated by Baruch College Professor Shelly Eversley.

Discussion to include works by seminal African American writers including John Oliver Killens, Richard Wright, Claude McKay, Dorothy West, Sterling Brown, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ann Petry, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka.

This March, the center will also host the National Black Writers Conference Biannual Symposium honoring the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson – a major contributor to the canon of American literature with works that range from “Fences” to Joe Turner’s “Come and Gone” to “Radio Golf.” For more information visit, www.centerforblackliterature.org.

Funding for this literary program is made possible with support from the Black, Latino and Asian American Caucus of the New York State Legislature.

About the Panelists/Moderator

Keith Gilyard, distinguished professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, is the author of John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism – the first major biography of Pulitzer Prize nominee John Oliver Killens – a novelist, dramatist, screenwriter and activist who was an influential force from the 1950s to 1980’s, writer-in-residence at Medgar Evers College, and the visionary behind the National Black Writers Conferences at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.

Gilyard has also authored several works including Liberation Memories: The Rhetoric and Poetics of John Oliver Killens (Wayne State University Press, 2003) and Poemographies (Whirlwind Press, 2001). He has also edited books on rhetoric, composition, race and ethnicity.

Lawrence P. Jackson, author of The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934–1960, is a professor of English and African American Studies at Emory University. He has written a comprehensive work on African American writers from the 1930s through 1960.

His critical work, The Indignant Generation; A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics 1934–1960 provides readers with a context for understanding the social, cultural and political landscape as well as the issues raised and challenges faced by the “indignant generation ” of writers during the Jim Crow period, Great Depression and the international wave of decolonization.

Jackson presents a detailed account of the African American literature conversations, journals, books and scholars in this period. Jackson is also the author of Ralph Ellison: Emergence of a Genius (University of Georgia Press, 2007) and a forthcoming biography of Chester Himes.

Shelly Eversley, is an associate professor of English at Baruch College, whose work focuses on Twentieth Century American and African American literature and culture as well as gender, sexuality, and visual studies.

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