Kiese Laymon, the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, will give a lecture on his award-winning memoir Heavy: An American Memoir (Scribner, 2018) on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Heavy was winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the New York TimesPublishers Weekly, NPR, Library JournalThe Washington PostSouthern Living, and Entertainment Weekly, among others. Laymon also is the author of the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the novel Long Division.  In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. In addition, Laymon has written for Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and Ebony, among many other outlets. His next project is the novel And So On, due out in 2020. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series. Read a Boston Globe Q&A with Laymon.

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Banville & Ford

Boston College will host two award-winning authors and friends, John Banville and Richard Ford, for a writers talk on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Devlin Hall, room 110. Irish writer Banville has written 17 novels, including The Sea (winner of the Man Booker Prize) and, most recently, Mrs. Osmond. American writer Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day, and also is the author of the novel Canada and the memoir Between Them, among other titles. Sponsors: Institute for the Liberal Arts, Irish Studies, Boston College Libraries, English Department, Creative Writing, and Fiction Days.

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Slavery in New England

In Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds (University of Massachusetts Press/Bright Leaf, 2019), historian Jared Ross Hardesty tells the story of slavery in New England, focusing on individual stories of enslaved people and bringing their experiences to life. He also explores larger issues such as the importance of slavery to the colonization of the region and to agriculture and industry, New England’s deep connections to Caribbean plantation societies, and the significance of emancipation movements in the era of the American Revolution. Hardesty is a Boston College alumnus who is currently an associate professor of history at Western Washington University. He also is the author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston.

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Dean’s Colloquium: Carlo Rotella

The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Colloquium will feature Professor of English and author Carlo Rotella, who will discuss his new book The World is Always Coming to An End (University of Chicago Press). For his book, Rotella returned to his old neighborhood, Chicago’s South Side, to find that the hollowing out of the middle class has left haves and have-nots separated by an expanding gap that makes it hard for them to recognize each other as neighbors. The Dean’s Colloquium will take place on Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Devlin Hall, room 101.


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Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins, who explores black girlhood and womanhood in America in her best-selling essay collection This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (Harper Perennial 2018), will speak at BC Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in McGuinn Auditorium. Jerkins teaches at Columbia University and her writing has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and ELLE, among other outlets. Sponsor: Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

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Mary Robinson on climate justice

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will give a talk on the subject of her new book Climate Justice—Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018) on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall. Climate Justice was written with journalist Caitríona Palmer, a BC alumna. Robinson is adjunct professor of climate justice at Trinity College Dublin and a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. She sits on the advisory board of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) and serves on the board of the European Climate Foundation. She also is chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela who work together for peace, justice, and human rights. Robinson also is the author of a memoir, Everybody Matters. Robinson’s lecture is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.

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A Russian Immigrant

The lives of immigrants are fueled by a combustible mix of success and alienation. In his new work, A Russian Immigrant: Three Novellas (Cherry Orchard Books, 2019),  Boston College Professor Maxim D. Shrayer captures those feelings in the story of Simon Reznikov, a Boston-based immigrant whose Russian, Jewish, and Soviet identities are explored in three interconnected novellas that span time and place. According to the publisher, in Shrayer’s “literary manifesto of Russian Jews in America” there are “vectors of love and desire, nostalgia and amnesia, violence and forgiveness, politics and aesthetics guiding  his immigrant characters while also disorienting them in their new American lives.” Read an excerpt from A Russian Immigrant in The Tablet.

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