Legacy Conversations: Chris Abani & Kelly Norman Ellis
July 11 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm| Free
Join us for an evening of conversation between literary lights Chris Abani and Kelly Norman Ellis. Abani is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Sanctificum, a nominee for the Griffin Poetry Prize; six novels, including Graceland, winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize; and is a member of the editorial board for the African Poetry Book Fund. Ellis, a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, is the author of Tougaloo Blues (Third World Press, 2003) and Offerings of Desire (Willow Books, 2012), which Nikky Finney calls “so rich with black zest and drylongso that each page sets high our thirst for all that is human, longed for and inexplicable.” Fellow CM Burroughs will moderate the conversation. Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.
Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, received a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award. His fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), and The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007). His poetry collections include Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), and Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010). His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as in Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb. Through his TED Talks, public speaking and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility.
Kelly Norman Ellis is author of Tougaloo Blues (2003) and Offerings of Desire (2012). Her poetry has appeared in Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry, Spirit and Flame, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Boomer Girls, Essence Magazine, Obsidian, Calyx, and Cornbread Nation. She is a recipient of a Kentucky Foundation for Women writer’s grant and is a Cave Canem fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. Ellis is an associate professor of English and creative writing and chairperson for the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Literatures at Chicago State University.