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January 20, 2015

Claudia Rankine kicks off University of Redlands’ Spring Visiting Writers Series

Written by  Lisa Lewis
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National Book Award Finalist Claudia Rankine kicks off

University of Redlands’ Spring Visiting Writers Series Jan. 22


Don’t miss the first reading this spring in the University of Redlands’ Visiting Writing Series, when acclaimed author Claudia Rankine reads from and discusses Citizen: An American Lyric, a mixed-media work that was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry. The event takes place Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Casa Loma Room on the University of Redlands campus and is the first of four free, public readings this spring.

Rankine’s reading, to be followed by a book-signing and reception, is co-sponsored by the University of Redlands’ Creative Writing, Race & Ethnic Studies and English departments and by its Office of Campus Diversity & Inclusion.

In a review of Citizen, The New York Times noted that “Rankine brilliantly pushes poetry’s forms to disarm readers and circumvent our carefully constructed defense mechanisms against the hint of possibly being racist ourselves.”

Rankine is also the author of four previous poetry collections and two plays and is the co-editor of the American Women Poets in the 21st Century series and The Racial Imaginary.In 2013, she was elected a chancellor at the Academy of American Poets, which had previously awarded her an Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement. She has received numerous other awards and fellowships from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The second reading in the spring series takes place Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. It features Southern-California native Dana Johnson, author of the short-story collection Break Any Woman Down, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the more recent novel Elsewhere, California. In a review of Elsewhere, which continues the story of Avery, a character introduced in Johnson’s story collection, theLos Angeles Times noted that “Avery’s evolution — a black woman trying to claim her place — is as heartbreaking as it is humorous, powerful as it is poignant, because Johnson so assertively confronts those complexities.” Johnson’s reading, also to be followed by a book-signing and reception, will take place in Room 100 in the Hall of Letters on the University of Redlands campus.

The third reading in The Visiting Writers Series will take place March 12 at 4:30 p.m., when poet Connie Voisine will read from her work. Voisine is the author of two poetry collections, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Cathedral of the North, which received the Associated Writing Programs Award in Poetry. Voisine’s reading will be in Room 100 in the Hall of Letters, where she will sign books during the post-reading reception.

For its final spring event April 7 at 6 p.m., The Visiting Writers Series will celebrate the release of the Spring 2015 edition of the Redlands Review literary journal (produced by the Creative Writing department) with readings from contributors and staff. The event also includes readings by students, who will present selections from their Senior Portfolio projects in fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.  The evening concludes with a reception and publication party where attendees will have the opportunity to purchase copies of the Review. This event will also be in Room 100 in the Hall of Letters.

 For more information, contact the University of Redlands Creative Writing department at (909) 748-8260.

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