This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Courtesy of Vassar College Bookstore

A Sampling of April Speakers

Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will lecture on behalf of the Black Students Union on April 6. Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave,” Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most exciting and acclaimed playwrights in American drama today. In 2002, she became the first African-American woman awarded with the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the Broadway hitTopdog/Underdog. In addition, Parks has received two Obies, two NEA grants, and a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the MacArthur “genius award.” She is currently director of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Read Hilton Als's New Yorker profile of Parks.

Professor Emeritus Eamon Grennan (pictured), poet, translator, and essayist, will read from his latest book of poems, Matter of Fact (Graywolf Press, 2008), on April 16 at the Vassar Bookstore. The reading is part of the bookstore’s Faculty Author Series. “The facts here are filtered through the senses of someone word-drunk who’s raised himself on Hopkins and Celan, Stevens and Shakespeare, as well as his immediate Irish forebear, Seamus Heaney,” Publishers Weekly said in a starred review of the book. Tea and Irish soda bread will be served. Listen to Eamon Grennan read his poem "Watch".

Sergio Ramírez, leading Nicaraguan writer and intellectual, will read from his newly translated novel A Thousand Deaths Plus One on April 22. For more than thirty years, Ramírez was active as both a high profile politician and novelist in Nicaragua. He was one of the founders of both the Frente Ventana and The Twelve, intellectual groups struggling against the Somoza dynasty’s dictatorship in the late 1970s. After the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979, Ramírez became the country’s Vice President. Now, Ramírez is best known as an independent progressive leader and one of the foremost contemporary Latin American writers. Ramírez will also be appearing at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City.

Helen Zia, journalist and author, will present the Asian Student Alliance Conference Lecture on April 24. Zia has been a magazine writer, editor, and investigative reporter for more than 20 years. She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. The book was a finalist for the 2000 Kiriyama Prize, which was established “to recognize outstanding books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia.” Zia’s investigative journalism on issues ranging from civil rights and peace to women’s rights and countering hate violence and homophobia has earned her numerous awards. Her lecture at Vassar will focus on issues of post-racism. Read an excerpt from Asian American Dreams.

April 2009

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