Kwame Dawes to Kick Off Creative Nonfiction Week
October 15, 2013
Creative nonfiction is hardly a complacent genre these days, as Columbia College’s Creative Nonfiction Week’s “Hybrid Forms” will highlight Oct. 21-24, co-hosted by the Journalism Department and the Department of Creative Writing. Creative nonfiction, which brings together techniques of fiction, poetry, film and other forms of storytelling with journalism’s commitment to facts, continues to cross literary boundaries and branch out into mediums that were once traditionally reserved for fictional narratives.
One such breaker of boundaries is renowned poet Kwame Dawes, who will deliver the opening keynote on the evening of Oct. 21. A Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet, Dawes is the award-winning author of 19 poetry books along with numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. His most recent book of poetry, Duppy Conquerer (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), represents his pioneering development of the reggae aesthetic. Also drawing on the collective voice of the African diaspora, Dawes worked in close collaboration with the book’s editor, Matthew Shenoda, acclaimed Egyptian-American poet and interim chair, Department of Creative Writing. Following the keynote, Shenoda will open a discussion with Dawes about his work.
In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy in the category of New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming for LiveHopeLove.com, an interactive site based on Kwame Dawe’s Pulitzer Center project HOPE: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica. He has also won numerous awards for his writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry in 2012, the Poets and Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award in 2011, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in 2008, The Hollis Summers Prize for Poetry in 2002, a Pushcart Prize in 2001, and The Forward Prize for Poetry for his first book, Progeny of Air, in 1994.
“Kwame Dawes’ work represents the range of creative nonfiction,” said Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, co-chair of Creative Nonfiction Week and associate professor of Journalism at Columbia College. “He and other participating speakers and panelists are exploring true storytelling in compelling, inspiring and sometimes groundbreaking ways.”
Additional highlights for Creative Nonfiction Week 2013 include: rising newcomers and Columbia College alumni Darryl Holliday and Erik Rodriguez of Chicago’s Illustrated Press, dubbed “Chicago’s pioneers of the comics journalism medium;” Martha Irvine, multimedia journalist and “storyteller” for the Associated Press, who will discuss working on multiple digital platforms; Megan Stielstra and Bobby Biedrzycki of Chicago’s notable 2nd Story, who will give their take on live performances; and a panel on “Entrepreneurial Paths to Publication,” who will showcase the growing field of small press publishing; among others.
For questions or more information on Creative Nonfiction Week, please contact Teresa Puente or Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin in the Journalism Department or at 312.369.8900.
Additional information can also be found on Gaper's Block.
(left: Darryl Holliday; above: Kwame Dawes ©Rachel Eliza Griffiths)