University of Pittsburgh
February 12, 2002

Author and Poet Jackie Kay to Give Free Reading at Pitt

Contact:  412-624-4147

February 13, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Author and poet Jackie Kay will give a free reading at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 21 in Room 501 of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, in Oakland.

Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted by a white couple and raised in Glasgow. In 1983, Kay received the Bachelor of Arts degree in English with honors from Stirling University. She eventually moved to London with her son Matthew because she felt Scotland lacked multicultural harmony.

Reflecting a situation similar to her own, "The Adoption Papers," Kay's first book of poetry, explores the adoption of a young Black girl by a white couple. The collection won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, a Saltire First Book of the Year Award, and a Forward Prize.

In an interview in "Imagining Adoption: Essays on Literature and Culture," edited by Pitt English Professor Marianne Novy, Kay said, "I'm Black and I'm Scottish . . . I'm interested in taking different things from Black cultures . . . and linking them up to my own identity. . . ."

Kay also is the author of two other books of poetry, "Other Lovers," which won a Somerset Maugham Award, and "Off Colour," shortlisted for the 1999 T. S. Eliot Award. She also has written three books of poetry for children, two of which won the Signal Award.

Her first novel, "Trumpet," about the family of a transvestite saxophone player, won the Guardian Fiction Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, and the Author's Club First Novel Award.

Kay's reading is cosponsored by Pitt's English department, Women's Studies Program, Center for West European Studies, Department of Africana Studies, Honors College, and Cultural Studies Program; Duquesne University's English department, and Gender and Women's Studies Program; Chatham College's English department M.A. Program, and Child/Adolescent Writing Program; and the Women's Creative Writing Center at Carlow College.

For more information, contact Marianne Novy at 412-624-6516.

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