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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

President's Lecture Series: Edwidge Danticat to Close Literary Festival

Acclaimed Haitian author and activist Edwidge Danticat will speak at Old Dominion on Thursday, Oct. 8 to conclude the 38th Annual Literary Festival.

Danticat's appearance at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center is part of the President's Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Guests are asked to RSVP online with the Office of Community Engagement or call 757-683-5759.

"Danticat has long been on our wish list," said Janet Peery, English professor and festival co-director with senior lecturer Katherine Jackson. "We are thrilled the President's Office is sponsoring her for this year's literary festival."

A MacArthur Fellow, Danticat is a powerful and celebrated voice in contemporary fiction. She has written 10 books, including the memoir "Brother, I'm Dying" and her latest novel, "Claire of the Sea Light." Her honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Story Prize, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Danticat published her first novel, "Breath, Eyes, Memory" at age 25. It was selected for Oprah's Book Club, and Danticat was immediately recognized as a shining, new literary talent.

A profound connection to her native Haiti not only informs Danticat's work, it has made her a passionate advocate for Haitians at home and abroad.

"Her stories and novels are widely taught in MFA programs and creative writing courses across the country," Peery said. "Her voice speaks lyrically and with color and magic about her home country, but also about its political struggles and the difficulty of being a woman in the unique social strictures of the place."

Danticat, the married mother of two daughters, has received the MacArthur "Genius Grant" and her work has been published by The New Yorker and the Washington Post.

Old Dominion's President's Lecture Series brings to campus speakers who share their knowledge, experiences, opinions and accomplishments about important topics of the day. The speeches are free and open to the public, and have previously included addresses by scientists, writers, educators, historians and Pulitzer Prize winners.