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Journalist to present 'Haiti: Tragedy and Hope' in Hall Center lecture series

Friday, October 24, 2014

LAWRENCE — Amy Wilentz, journalist, author and expert on the politics and culture of Haiti, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. Her lecture, "Haiti: Tragedy and Hope,” is part of the Hall Center for the Humanities' 2014-2015 Humanities Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

Wilentz will also participate in an informal conversation session the next morning. “A Conversation with Amy Wilentz” will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the Hall Center Conference Hall. Audience members are invited to pose questions to Wilentz and advance topics that may not have been touched upon in the previous night’s session. This event is also free and open to the public.

Wilentz is a journalist and author whose works focus on the politics and culture of Haiti. She is the author of "Farewell Fred Voodoo," 2013, "The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier," 1989, "Martyrs' Crossing," 2000, and "I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger," 2006. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine.

She most recently collected the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Autobiography for "Farewell, Fred Voodoo," based on her years of reporting from Haiti.

In the book, Wilentz traces the country's history from its slave plantations through its turbulent revolutionary history, its kick-up-the-dirt guerrilla movements, its totalitarian dynasty that ruled for decades, and its long and always troubled relationship with the United States.

Haiti emerged from the dust of the 2010 earthquake like a powerful spirit, and Wilentz’s lecture will describe the country's day-to-day struggle and its relationship to outsiders who come to help out.

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 Stephen Greenblatt, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Mary Oliver. 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.

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