WMU News

Reading by Randall Kenan is set for Sept. 19

Sept. 12, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- An award-winning African-American author will present a reading at 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in 3021 Brown Hall.

Randall Kenan has been praised for his most recent book, "Walking on Water," which The New York Times Book Review called "a work of insight and compassion." The book is a timely account of the thoughts, opinions and lives of African-Americans in the post-Civil Rights era of the '90s that Kenan culled from 200 interviews he completed while traveling across the United States from Maine to Alaska.

A blend of oral history and travel writing, the book attempts to answer a question that has long fascinated the author: What does it mean to be black in America today? The reader is introduced to a wide assortment of people, including a Republican congressman, an AIDS activist, a Baptist minister in Mormon Utah, an ambitious public relations major in North Dakota, militant activists in Atlanta and movie folks in Los Angeles.

Kenan also is the author of the acclaimed novel "Let the Dead Bury Their Dead," which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993, and "A Visitation of Spirits," a collection of short stories.

Raised in Chinquapin, N.C., Kenan lives in Memphis, Tenn., where he teaches at the University of Memphis. Kenan's presentation is part of the Fall 2002 Reading Series, sponsored by the Department of English's creative writing program. For more information, call the department at 269 387-2572.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, 269 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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