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Barnard College Launches New Black Biography

Barnard College Launches New Black Biography
And Memoir Series for 2004-2005

Barnard College will a present a year-long authors’ series, “Writing Black Lives,” during 2004-2005 to showcase significant Black writers and figures of African descent through biography and memoir. The series will feature noted author Michael Eric Dyson (Sept. 13) reading from his acclaimed books about the lives of legendary singer Marvin Gaye and rap impresario Tupac Shakur; a new interpretation by Jean Fagan Yellin (Oct. 26) of the life of Harriet Jacobs, whose memoir of slavery is a modern classic; Alexis De Veaux (March 29), who recently published the long-awaited first biography of Audre Lorde, visionary Black feminist poet.
The series is organized by Dr. Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, the scholar, author and national radio show book host, who is director of Barnard’s Africa and African Diaspora Studies program. This multidisciplinary approach charts the history, politics, cultures and literatures of Africa in the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.
“The goal of the series is to further strengthen Barnard’s already strong offerings of writers and thinkers by bringing in some of the people doing the finest work about Black lives. The series will explore the particular demands —  historical, social, psychological and political — of writing biographies and memoirs of Black people,” said Gerzina, a professor of English at Barnard.
Gerzina’s critically acclaimed biography on The Secret Garden author Frances Hodgson Burnett was published earlier this year. She also is the author of a book on the Bloomsbury figure Dora Carrington, Carrington: A Life, which became a movie starring Emma Thompson. Her book, Black London, about the Black population of 18th-century Britain, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and her forthcoming Bijah and Lucy: Love in the Time of Colonial Slavery, will be the lead book for the Amistad imprint of HarperCollins. Gerzina hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, “The Book Show,” whose guests have included Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie.
For more information, contact the Barnard Office of Public Affairs, (212) 854-2037.

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