University of Delaware

Transnational Encounters

Nobel Laureates in Literature to speak at UD as part of visiting writers series


2:05 p.m., April 11, 2012--The University of Delaware community will have the unique opportunity to interact with recipients of one of the most prominent international awards, the Nobel Prize in Literature, through a visiting writers series.

Two Nobel Laureates in Literature will visit UD in 2012, beginning with French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio in May. Le Clézio won the honor in 2008, and the University of Delaware Library is currently displaying some of this work in the Morris Library entry area.

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Le Clézio and Vargas Llosa are the first Nobel Laureates in Literature ever to visit the University. Both authors are speaking as part of a visiting writers series titled Transnational Encounters: World-Renowned Authors at the University of Delaware.

The series was made possible through a $50,000 grant from the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center and began bringing in authors last fall with the visit of Rebecca Skloot to campus, an event that was cosponsored by the First Year Experience program and the Department of English.

The Transnational Encounters project will also be bringing in Bharati Mukherjee, whose visit in October will be hosted by the Department of English. 

Two additional authors, one hosted by the Department of Women’s Studies and one sponsored by the Chinese section of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Confucius Institute, will come to campus during the spring of 2013.

The Transnational Encounters project is directed by Richard Zipser, professor and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and was developed in collaboration with the departments of English and Women’s Studies.

Zipser said the program brings together University students and faculty, as well as the general public, to meet with major world figures in the humanities and explore the cultural diversity in the authors’ literary works.

“One of the hallmarks of an intellectually vibrant campus is the opportunity to hear and engage with leading scholars and artists of diverse national and international communities,” Zipser said.  “Our high-profile authors series seeks to create a forum for such an engagement at UD, using the medium of world literature in order to discuss and reflect upon such crucial issues as new forms of migration, the role of the nation state, identity politics, or gender and family structures.”  

Both the Honors Program and the First Year Experience program were strong supporters of this proposal to the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center last spring, and with advanced planning books by the selected authors were integrated into a range of syllabi in different departments. 

Le Clézio will be delivering a keynote address in English in Clayton Hall on Thursday, May 10, at 5 p.m. He will also be on campus Friday, May 11, and will be doing readings of portions of his works in French and English. The French reading will be at 11 a.m. in 006 Kirkbride Hall and the English reading will be at 4:30 p.m. in 104 Gore Hall. 

Article by Lauren Pitruzzello

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