Thursday, October 10

 5.30 pm Ulrich Hall (Tawes)

Keynote: Harryette Mullen in conversation with Evie Shockley

Harryette Mullen teaches courses in American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA. Her poems, short stories, and essays are published widely and reprinted in over one hundred anthologies, including several published by Norton, Oxford, Cambridge, and Penguin presses. Her work appears in Best of Callaloo and was selected four times for the Best American Poetry anthology series edited by David Lehman with guest editors A.R. Ammons, Robert Hass, Terrance Hayes, and Robert Pinsky. She is a recipient of a Stephen Henderson Award, Jackson Poetry Prize, United States Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Katherine Newman Award for Best Essay on Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Polish, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, and Kyrgyz. She has published eight poetry books, including Recyclopedia (Graywolf, 2006), winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California, 2002), a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be, was published in 2012 by University of Alabama Press. Her poetry collection, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, was published by Graywolf Press in 2013. Poems from a work in progress are forthcoming in Callaloo Journal.

Evie Shockley, Professor of English at Rutgers University—New Brunswick, is the author of Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry and several collections of poetry.  The most recent, semiautomatic, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the LA Times Book Prize, and winner of the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, which she previously won in 2012 for the new black.  Her poems and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies internationally.  Shockley’s work has also been supported and recognized with the 2015 Stephen Henderson Award, the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cave Canem, MacDowell, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.


Friday, October 11

5.30 pm Ulrich Hall (Tawes)

Keynote: Chris Abani

Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender, and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001. Abani’s fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, Song For Night (2007), The Virgin of Flames (2007), Becoming Abigail (2006), GraceLand (2004), and Masters of the Board (1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (2010), There Are No Names for Red (2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (2010), Hands Washing Water (2006), Dog Woman (2004), Daphne’s Lot (2003), and Kalakuta Republic (2001).

Through his TED Talks, public speaking, and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Graceland, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian, and Serbian. Abani is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.


Saturday, October 12

4.30 pm Calvert C&D (The Hotel)

Keynote: Alex Rivera

Alex Rivera is a filmmaker who has been telling new, urgent, and visually adventurous Latino stories for more than twenty years. His first feature film, a cyberpunk thriller set in Tijuana, Mexico, Sleep Dealer, won multiple awards at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, was screened around the world, and released theatrically in the U.S.  Rivera’s second feature film, a documentary/scripted hybrid set in and around an immigration detention center, The Infiltrators, won both the Audience Award and the Innovator Award in the NEXT section of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will be released theatrically in 2020.  Rivera’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Open Society Institute, Creative Capital, and many others. Alex studied at Hampshire College, was the Rothschild Lecturer at Harvard University, and is currently a distinguished lecturer in Media Studies at Queens College.