“The Border and Its Meaning: Forgotten Stories” 7th Annual CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium

April 25, 2018
2:30 pmto4:30 pm
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Laila Lalami



cosponsored by CLLAS

Panel Discussion: 3:00 – 4:30 PM UO campus: JSMA Ford Lecture Hall
Light reception: 2:30 – 3 p.m. JSMA Ford Lecture Hall

Laila Lalami, novelist and columnist for The Nation, will read portions of her novel The Moor’s Account, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Commenting on their selected passages will be panelists:

  • Liz Bohls, PhD, Professor, Department of English
  • Miriam Gershow, MFA, novelist & Associate Director of Composition, Department of English
  • Angela Joya, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of International Studies
  • Lamia Karim, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Michael Najjar, MFA, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre Arts

Keynote, Laila Lalami: “The Border and Its Meaning: Forgotten Stories,” 6 PM Eugene Public Library (with Q&A followed by booksigning)

To be held April 25, 2018, the 7th annual CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium will feature Pulitzer  finalist Laila Lalami and her novel The Moor’s Account

The 2018 NWWS working theme is “The Border and Its Meaning: Forgotten Stories.” Built around Lalami’s experience and expertise, this theme opens conversations about contemporary issues around Muslim life in the West, undocumented immigrants in the United States, the meaning of a border wall, and the significance of borders and walls in the United States as well as other parts of the world. The Moor’s Account opens the conversation further, to a historic look at an ill-fated expedition of Spanish conquistadors (recorded officially by Cabeza De Vaca) and their interactions with Native Americans as they traveled from Florida into northern Mexico. Lalami’s novel is an imagined memoir written in the voice of one of four survivors of the expedition, a Moorish slave considered the first black explorer of America. When juxtaposed against De Vaca’s historic record of this journey, Lalami’s novel, as The Huffington Post puts it, “sheds light on all of the possible New World exploration stories that didn’t make history.”  One of the ongoing themes of the novel relates to the power of voice, the significance of storytelling, and the relationship of personal freedom to storytelling.

From Lalami’s website: “Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist; and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was on the Man Booker Prize longlist and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. She writes the ‘Between the Lines’ column for The Nation magazine and is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.”

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, in cooperation with the Eugene Public Library. Cosponsored by the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities; UO Libraries; CAS Humanities; Departments of English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; School of Journalism and Communication; Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies; Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics; and others to be named.

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CLLAS Common Reading Brunch with author Helena María Viramontes / Photos by Mike Bragg / Courtesy of the UO Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art