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Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities
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MacArthur Fellow, author Edwidge Danticat to speak at KU

Thu, 03/07/2013

LAWRENCE — Edwidge Danticat, author of "Breath, Eyes, Memory" and "Brother, I’m Dying," will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, in the Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. Her lecture, "An Evening with Edwidge Danicat," is the spring installment of the Hall Center for the Humanities' 2012-2013 Humanities Lecture Series, and the final lecture of the year. The event is free and open to the public.

The Hall Center will also host a more informal public question-and-answer session the following morning. "A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat" will take place at 10 a.m. March 14 in the Hall Center Conference Hall. This event is also free and open to the public.

Danticat will read from her newest book, "Claire of the Sea Light," to be released this summer. She will also offer commentary on her process and on the book itself.

The book is a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire Limyè Lanmè — Claire of the Sea Light — is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in a seaside town in Haiti. Told with the piercing lyricism and economy of a fable, "Claire of the Sea Light" explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover and friend, while indelibly revealing the mysterious connections we share with the natural world and with one another, amid the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life.

Edwidge Danticat is the American Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including "Brother, I'm Dying" (2007), "Krik? Krak!" (1996), "Breath, Eyes, Memory" (1994) and "The Dew Breaker" (2004). In 2009, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of her significant contributions to literature.

Danticat, a native of Haiti, came to the United States when she was 12, and it is her moving and insightful depictions of Haiti that have brought the experience of Haitian immigration to the forefront of American literature. By writing about the themes of family, community and relationships, Danticat evokes familiar emotional territory while still conjuring specific experiences and sensations of Haitian culture.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Henry Louis Gates Jr., Mary Oliver and T.R. Reid. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For information on the series, visit the Hall Center website.



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@NYTimes columnist @WCRhoden will speak at a symposium about race and sports April 23. http://t.co/UiKA9MYNv0 http://t.co/PHwCOHqcfD
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times