Virtual Cropper Series Announced for 2020-2021

Virtual Cropper Series Announced for 2020-2021

The Lindsay J. Cropper Center for Creative Writing at the University of San Diego is pleased to announce its lineup of readers for the Cropper Memorial Writers Series for the 2020/2021 academic year.

In a recent Statement of Solidarity written after the murder of George Floyd and in the wake of protests against police brutality, the Department of English noted that, “It is precisely in times like these that we witness the unique capacity of literature to remind us of the innate dignity of all human life.” Since its inception in 2004, the Cropper Center has prioritized bringing a diversity of voices to campus, to both enliven our campus community’s encounter with the written word, and, by extension, to help cultivate a collective understanding of the broad array of human experiences. 

Guided by these values, and in light of the English Department’s recent reaffirmation of its “commitment to the enduring work of anti-racism,” the Cropper Center is proud to announce that the 2020/2021 Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series will be a celebration of Black creative work exclusively. This fall, we will welcome the 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, Jericho Brown, the essayist and memoirist Kiese Laymon, and the fiction writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. In the Spring, we will host a reading with our very own faculty member, poet Alexis Jackson. 

Full details of the fall events and speakers are below. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Brad Melekian, director of the Cropper Center, at melekian@sandiego.edu.

Fall Readings and Craft Talks

Please note that all fall readings and craft talks will take place on Zoom.

Thursday, September 3, 12:30 p.m.: Craft Talk and Reading with Poet Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown is author of the The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection, The Tradition won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in The Bennington ReviewBuzzfeedFencejubilatThe New RepublicThe New York TimesThe New Yorker, The Paris ReviewTIME magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University.

Thursday, October 1, 12:30 p.m., Craft Talk and Reading with Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division. Laymon’s powerful bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.  It is a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction. Heavy was named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, was named one of the 50 best memoirs since 1969 by The New York Times, and was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year.

Thursday, October 29, 12:30 p.m., Craft Talk and Reading with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book ReviewEsquireLiterary Hub, the Paris ReviewGuernica, and Longreads. He was selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's “5 Under 35” honorees, is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.

Heavy by Kiese Laymon book cover; The Tradition by Jericho Brown book cover; and Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah book cover

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Brad Melekian
melekian@sandiego.edu
619-260-2906

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