Common Book author Edwidge Danticat to give lecture Sept. 6

LAWRENCE — Edwidge Danticat, MacArthur Fellow and author of the 2018-2019 KU Common Book, “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work,” will present the keynote lecture for the University of Kansas’ Common Book program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, in the Lied Center. The event is open to the public. Tickets are not required.

“Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work” champions artistic production in the face of political and social strife. Through a collection of essays, Haitian-American author Danticat invites critical reflection on the nature of identity and belonging. Danticat’s personal journey from Haiti to the United States and her attempts to navigate her own competing identities prompts readers to consider their allegiances, exiles and sense of belonging in conflicting spaces. For Danticat, “to create dangerously is also to create fearlessly, boldly embracing the public and private terrors that would silence us.”

Danticat uses tales of her native Haiti and her identity as an artist to highlight creativity and courageous reading as avenues for making sense of crisis, injustice and oppression. “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work” was named The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice in 2010 and is the recipient of numerous literary awards.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies DeAngela Burns-Wallace will give opening remarks, and Giselle Anatol, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of English, will introduce Danticat. Danticat will also participate in a question-and-answer session at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in the Spencer Museum of Art. The Q&A will be moderated by Cécile Accilien, chair of the Department of African & African-American Studies and director of the Institute of Haitian Studies.

In addition to Danticat’s visit, the KU Office of First-Year Experience and campus and community partners will offer other opportunities to discuss and engage with the Common Book.

The exhibition “In Conversation with the 2018-2019 KU Common Book” will is open in the Learning Center of the Spencer Museum of Art through Sept. 23.

“The Ties That Bind: Haiti, the United States, and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective,” featuring the 2018-2019 KU Common Work of Art “Marie Laveau,” will open in the Spencer Museum on Saturday, Sept. 8, and will be on view through January 2019.  

The KU Natural History Museum and the Spencer Museum will host the “Migratory Mixer” in both museums from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 13. The mixer invites KU students and patrons to explore the museums and consider how artworks and species migrate across cultural and geographical spaces.

KU will also host the “Unexpected Caribbean Symposium” from Oct. 18-20 in venues across campus.

The Office of First-Year Experience collaborates with campus and community partners to host additional events throughout the academic year. Information about these and other events can be found at

KU Common Book is designed to connect first-year students to campus and the community through discussion and lectures. Additionally, Danticat’s book is being used in over 200 class sections at KU this fall.

Thu, 08/30/2018


Howard Graham

Media Contacts

Howard Graham

Office of First-Year Experience