Panelists blend creative and critical analysis in a celebration of the work of Gwendolyn Brooks. The daughter of two writers–Henry Blakely and Gwendolyn Brooks–Nora Brooks Blakely founded Brooks Permissions, a company which manages her mother’s body of work and promotes its continuing relevance in the 21st century. She is joined by Quraysh Ali Lansana, author of Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, and poet Melissa Green.
Jeffrey Stewart and MaryLouise Patterson examine two key figures of the Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes and Alain Locke. In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Stewart chronicles the education and career of Locke, the queer philosopher and architect of the Black Arts Movement. Patterson is the editor of Letters from Langston, which contains the writer’s correspondence throughout the Jazz Age and beyond. Sponsored by African and African American Studies.
Drink tea and eat crumpets as two prominent Jane Austen scholars discuss her life and work to mark the 200th anniversary of her death. George Mason University Professor Kristin Samuelian is the editor of Broadview’s edition of Emma, and has written on Austen and “Managing Propriety.” Amy Smith wrote All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-Long Journey with Jane, after spending a year traveling Latin America hosting Austen book clubs across the continent, and stumbling onto her own Señor Darcy. This is a paid reception event and the charge covers the cost of tea, drinks, and food. Register online HERE. Sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Rhonda Shary and Sarah Canfield explore the question, “What impact is dystopian fiction having on the world today?” Panelists discuss the history, distinguishing features, and topicality of dystopian fiction, from classics such as We and 1984 to recent works including The Handmaid’s Tale, Parable of the Sower, The Hunger Games, and V for Vendetta, and in “literary” films from Metropolis to Children of Men. While dystopian themes have always expressed warning and anxiety, recently they seem to have become less fictional and more factual, as we confront the rise of technology and science, religious extremism, environmental stresses, income inequality, and strife over reproductive control and the impact of overpopulation. By highlighting issues of class, race, gender, and politics in the real world, dystopian works express society’s fears of the unknown, act as a literature of witness in times of social change, and promote strategies of resistance to injustice, asking the questions: What can we do to prevent disaster from happening to us? What went wrong here, and how can we make it right?