University of Pittsburgh
January 3, 2001

LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF AFRICAN DIASPORA HIGHLIGHTED IN PITT READING AND PANEL DISCUSSION

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 3 -- The University of Pittsburgh's Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series and Department of Africana Studies will host a reading with science fiction writer Samuel Delany and poets Nathaniel Mackey and Lorenzo Thomas on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 8:15 p.m., in 125 Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive, Oakland.

Earlier that day, at 4 p.m. in 2P56 Posvar Hall, South Bouquet Street, the three authors will take part in a departmental colloquium, entitled "African-American Writing in The Academy and Other Public Places." The panel discussion is part of "Fusions: Crossing Languages and Spaces," a program of events devoted to the literature and culture of the African Diaspora. Both events are free and open to the public.

Thomas is an associate professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown where he teaches American literature and creative writing. A widely published poet and critic, Thomas' works have appeared in African American Review, Arrowsmith, Blues Unlimited (England), Living Blues, Partisan Review, Ploughshares, and Popular Music and Society, and other journals. His books include "Chances Are Few," "The Bathers," and "Es Gibt Zeugen," collections of poetry, as well as "Sing the Sun Up: Creative Writing Ideas from African American Literature." Thomas serves the University of Houston as director of the Cultural Enrichment Center. He has received two Poets Foundation awards and the Lucille Medwick Prize.

Delany first achieved recognition as a stylistically gifted, formally innovative writer of science fiction and fantasy. Works such as "Dhalgren," "Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand," and the Neveryön series of novels and stories have earned him multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. His recent work includes "1984," a collection of letters by Delany from the mid-1980s, and "Bread and Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York." Essay collections include "Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics" and "Longer Views: Extended Essays." Delany published his first science fiction novel at 19. He teaches English at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Mackey is a poet, novelist, essayist, music critic, editor, lecturer, and educator. He published his first chapbook, "Four for Trane," in 1978 and was characterized as a postmodern poet. He is author of an ongoing prose composition, "From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate," of which two volumes have been published: "Bedouin Hornbook," and "Djbout Baghostus' Run." His work, "Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality and Experimental Writing," is a series of critical essays about music and literature. Mackey joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1979, where he is a professor of American literature.

The Contemporary Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Wyndham Garden Hotel-University Place, The Book Center, Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Department of Africana Studies, The Women's Studies Program, Center for Latin American Studies, East Asian Studies, University of Pittsburgh Press, Creative Nonfiction, Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, and the Honors College.

For more information, call 412-648-7540 or 412-624-6506.

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