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Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselić named board chair of Zócalo Public Square

Rocker and reformist to present 10th annual Zócalo Book Prize on May 20

Krist Novoselic - Zocalo Public Square

Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselić.

May 04, 2020

Legendary musician Krist Novoselić, a founding member of Nirvana and a longtime leader in American democratic reform, has been named chair of the board of trustees of Zócalo Public Square, an Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise. 

Along with bandmates Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl, Novoselić changed the course of music history with the 1992 album "Nevermind." In the process, Nirvana opened the doors for a new generation of musicians. 

As board chair, Novoselić will serve a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that pursues a mission of “connecting people to ideas and to each other” and “engaging a new and diverse generation in the public square.” Since its 2003 founding, Zócalo has syndicated its ideas journalism to more than 250 media outlets worldwide, has hosted 600-plus live events online and across 33 cities and has partnered with dozens of educational, cultural and philanthropic institutions.

“Zócalo is about civic engagement — it is the public square after all,” Novoselić said. “It’s a culture that offers scholarship in an accessible way. In other words, this is fun and entertaining. These are serious times, and the key is trying to balance issues in a way that pulls people in from all walks of life.”

Novoselić, like Zócalo itself, is a native of L.A. County. Born in Compton, he grew up in Los Angeles, Croatia and Aberdeen, Washington. After Nirvana, he became one of America’s most politically minded musicians, authoring a book, "Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy," and chairing the board of FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform organization. He also serves as a member of the Washington State Grange.

Novoselić takes over as board chair from Moira Shourie, who is now Zócalo’s executive director. Previously, Novoselić was a member of Zócalo’s board, and a judge for the Zócalo Book Prize, which is given annually to the U.S. nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community.

On May 20, Novoselić will present the 10th annual Zócalo Book Prize to University of North Carolina historian William Sturkey, author of "Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White." Sturkey will then give a lecture and answer questions from Pulitzer Prize-winning Yale historian David W. Blight. The event, which starts at 5 p.m. Pacific and 8 p.m. Eastern, is free, and you can RSVP here.

Novoselić earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University’s Global Campus. He is an active pilot. He currently has two musical projects — "Giants in the Trees" are a rock music quartet and "Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole" is a spoken word/musical collaboration with author Robert Michael Pyle. Novoselić plays accordion and finger-style guitar every day.

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