Abani to replace Tretheway in E.N. Thompson series opener

· 2 min read

Abani to replace Tretheway in E.N. Thompson series opener

Chris Abani

Award-winning writer, playwright and TED speaker Chris Abani will deliver the 19th annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. He will replace Natasha Trethewey, who is unable to give the lecture due to a death in her family.

Presented by Humanities Nebraska and co-sponsored by the E.N. Thompson Forum and UNL, the lecture will be the first in the 2014-15 E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues series, “The Creative World.” The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required to reserve seating. Call the Lied Center Box Office for tickets at 402-472-7474.

Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, Abani is well known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, the New York Times, O Magazine and Bomb.

Abani is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award for “Graceland,” and the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, among many honors. His degrees include an M.A. in English, gender and culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001 and is a professor of English at Northwestern University.

Abani’s fiction includes “The Secret History of Las Vegas” (Penguin 2014), “Song for Night” (Akashic, 2007) and “The Virgin of Flames” (Penguin, 2007), among other titles. He is also a poet, having published “Sanctificum” (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), “There Are no Names for Red” (Red Hen Press, 2010), “Feed me the Sun – Collected Long Poems” (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), “Hands Washing Water” (Copper Canyon, 2006) and other titles.

UNL poet Kwame Dawes, who will moderate questions from the audience immediately following Abani’s lecture, has noted that, “Abani’s line has a sharp precision that turns a scream into a line of memorable lyric music without losing the emotion and force.”

“Our hearts go out to Natasha Trethewey at her time of loss,” said Chris Sommerich, executive director of Humanities Nebraska. “We are very appreciative of Chris Abani’s willingness to come to Nebraska on short notice and inspire us with his thoughts on ‘The Creative World.’”

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