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Presentation highlights women writers from different eras

February 19, 2009

One of ASU’s literary leaders will attempt to merge the past with the present in the second Humanities Lecture Series of the semester at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Neal A. Lester, chair of the Department of English in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will present “African American Women Writing their Lives and Experiences” on Thursday, Feb. 26. Hosted by ASU’s School of Letters & Sciences and University College, the lecture starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., room 128.

The lecture series is free and open to the public.

“Professor Lester is a much sought-after charismatic speaker and has an extensive record of publications, lectures, editorships and public interviews. Much of his work is on African American literature and culture and inter-racial relationships. He has won numerous academic awards and has been recognized as a distinguished scholar by many organizations,” said Mirna Lattouf, senior lecturer with the School of Letters & Sciences in University College and organizer of the lecture series. “We are very much looking forward to his lecture and encourage all to come.”

Lester says African American women have always documented their life experiences as long as they have been able to construct and communicate meaning, perhaps even more comprehensively than their black male counterparts.

“African American women have created a space in their works that’s more inclusive and comprehensive than black male writers,” Lester says. “Men tend to be more rigid and linear in their writings whereas women tend to be more spiraling, circular and work through an entire process before they reach the end.”

From Toni Morrison to Ntozake Shange, and from Maya Angelou to Carolivia Herron, this interactive presentation highlights African American women writers from different eras whose narratives have helped define the complexities of our American social, political and historical landscape.

Lester says he will add some humor and poignancy to the mix.

“I’m hoping that this lecture doesn’t come off as a history lesson but more of a fun, humorous and interactive conversation,” Lester says. “My hope is to move people to a different place after they first walk in the door.”

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