WMU News

Wesley offers reading of her work at Lee Honors College

March 18, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, an award-winning writer and assistant professor of English at Western Michigan University, will give a reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in the Lee Honors College lounge. The reading is free and open to the public.

Wesley has a newly released prize-winning collection of poems, "Becoming Ebony," from Southern Illinois University Press. She was also published by WMU's New Issues Press in 1998. The title of her New Issues collection is "Before the Palm Could Bloom," which retells her experiences in the Liberian Civil War.

Born in Tugbakeh, Maryland County, Liberia, Wesley grew up in the capital city of Monrovia. She attended the University of Liberia in the late 1970s during a period of political unrest, which resulted in the country's first military coup in 1980.

In 1983, she was awarded a World Bank Fellowship to do graduate studies at Indiana University, where she earned a master's degree in English education. After completing her studies, she returned with her family to Liberia. There, they were caught up in the Liberian Civil War, when rebels overran Monrovia in 1990. Wesley immigrated to the United States with her husband and three children in 1991, having lost most of their possessions and many of their family in the war.

Wesley received a doctorate in English and creative writing from WMU in 2002.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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