English Department hosts authors, scholars for spring virtual visits

Four headshots: Nic Stone, Gerald Vizenor, Hanif Abdurraqib and Dr. Monica De La Torre

~ By Jefferson Beavers, communication specialist, Department of English

Fresno State’s Department of English will host multiple distinguished authors and scholars this spring for virtual campus visits.

All of the online events are supported by Fresno State’s Instructionally Related Activities fund, with support from the College of Arts and Humanities.

The 12th annual Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas (UCMLA) will take place March 12 and 13, featuring keynote addresses from Dr. Monica De La Torre, an interdisciplinary Chicana feminist and radio scholar, and Gerald Vizenor, lauded Native American poet, scholar, and author of more than 30 books.

The Normal School magazine will host New York Times best-selling author and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib for a virtual residency March 24-26. And the 41st annual Young Writers’ Conference will take place April 14, featuring a keynote address from Nic Stone, a New York Times best-selling author of fiction for young adults.

UCMLA conference

Dr. Monica De La Torre
Dr. Monica De La Torre

With a history in radio production, De La Torre works as an assistant professor in the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. Her work seeks to join Chicana feminist theory, Latinx feminist media studies, radio and sound studies, and women’s and gender studies. Her forthcoming book, “Feminista Frequencies: Chicana Radio Praxis in Community Broadcasting,” draws on De La Torre’s expertise to explore the story of Chicana farm workers and activists turned community radio broadcasters beginning in the 1970s.

Gerald Vizenor
Gerald Vizenor

Vizenor is a professor emeritus of American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. His explorations of Native American literature and cultural survivance have earned him esteemed awards such as the American Book Award for the novel “Griever: An American Monkey King in China,” and the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award. Vizenor has published more than 30 books; his most recent are “Native Provenance: The Betrayal of Cultural Creativity,” a collection of essays, and “Satie on the Seine: Letters to the Heirs of the Fur Trade,” an historical novel.

Both March 12 keynote addresses are free and open to the public via Zoom. De La Torre will speak at 2 p.m. with pre-registration required. Vizenor will speak at 7 p.m. with pre-registration required. For information, contact Samina Najmi at snajmi@mail.fresnostate.edu or 559.278.1569.

The Normal School

Hanif Abdurraqib
Hanif Abdurraqib

Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first full length poetry collection, “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much,” was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, “They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us,” was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, the Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. He released “Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest” with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times best-seller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, “A Fortune For Your Disaster,” was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2021, he will release the book “A Little Devil In America” with Random House.

For the virtual residency, Abdurraqib will conduct a workshop for Normal School editors and creative writing students on March 24, and will do one-on-one manuscript consultations with Master of Fine Arts graduate students on March 25.

His reading at 7 p.m. on March 26 is free and open to the public via Zoom. Pre-registration is required. For information, contact Steven Church at stchurch@mail.fresnostate.edu or 559.278.1569.

Young Writers’ Conference

Nic Stone
Nic Stone

New York Times best-selling young adult novelist Nic Stone will deliver her virtual keynote address to 400-plus area high school students and their teachers.

Stone says the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. Born and raised in Atlanta, she is a graduate of Spelman College. Stone’s early exposure to various cultures, religions, and backgrounds drive her to showcase diverse voices and stories in her work. Her novels, “Dear Martin,” “Clean Getaway,” and “Odd One Out” have seen critical success for their exploration of social injustices in the United States. Her current YA novel, “Dear Justyce,” a sequel to “Dear Martin,” delves further into the inequity that exists within the U.S. judicial system for incarcerated teens.

Stone’s keynote at 10:15 a.m. on April 14 is free and open to the public via Zoom. Pre-registration is required. For information, contact Tanya Nichols at tanichols@mail.fresnostate.edu or 559.278.1569.

English single-subject teaching credential student Noel Castillón contributed to this story.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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