The Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College Presents 2010 Distinguished Writers Series

For Immediate Release:
Jan. 28, 2010

Contact: Nina Berger,

WELLESLEY, Mass.—Authors Chris Abani and Achy Obejas (Feb. 23), Francine Prose (March 16), Colum McCann (March 30) and Carolyn Forché and Valzhyna Mort (April 20) will be featured speakers at Wellesley College's Newhouse Center for the Humanities’ 2010 Distinguished Writer Series. A great way to discover new books, talk to authors about their work and meet fellow book-lovers, the Series will consist of a reading followed by a conversation with series curator Colin Channer, followed by an open question-and-answer session. All events are free and held on Tuesday afternoons at 4:30 pm at the Newhouse Center.

“With authors from Nigeria, Cuba, Ireland, Belarus and the U.S.A, the series is as international as our campus and our surrounding communities,” said Carol Dougherty, director of the Newhouse Center. “We wanted to create more than a literary series. We wanted to create a series of opportunities for people to come together over new books and ideas, to take journeys through narrative and engage in the cognitive drama of conversation.”

Chris Abani and Achy Obejas
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 4:30 pm, Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Green Hall, Room 237
Born in eastern Nigeria and currently a resident of southern California, Chris Abani calls himself an “Ibo citizen of the world.” His 10 books of prose and poetry have earned several notable awards, including the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, the Prince Claus Award and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Abani’s most recent collection of poems is Santificum (Copper Canyon, 2010) and his latest work of fiction is the novella, Song for Night (Akashic, 2007). He directs the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside.

Achy Obejas is a novelist, poet, journalist and translator. Her most recent work of fiction is the novel, Ruins (Akashic, 2009), which is set in Cuba, where she was born. Her work has been translated into Spanish, German, Hungarian and Farsi, and she has received two Lamda Literary Awards and an NEA Award in Poetry. Obejas is currently the Sor Juana Visiting Writer at DePaul University in Chicago.

Francine Prose
Tuesday, March 16, 4:30 pm, Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Green Hall, Room 237
Francine Prose’s 12 novels include Blue Angel (Harper Collins, 2000), which was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. Her most recent nonfiction book, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, was released in 2009 by Harper Collins. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and a 1999 Director’s Fellow of the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers, Prose is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine andlives in New York City.

Colum McCann                              
Tuesday, March 30, 4:30, pm, Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Green Hall, Room 237
Colum McCann was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1965. He is the author of two story collections and five novels, including This Side of Brightness (Picador, 2003); Dancer (Picador, 2004); Zoli (Random House, 2006); and the 2009 National Book Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin (Bloomsbury, 2009). His awards include the Rooney Prize and the Hennessey Award for Irish Literature. McCann lives in New York City, where he teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at Hunter College.

Carolyn Forché And Valzhyna Mort
Tuesday, April 20, 4:30 pm, Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Green Hall, Room 237
Carolyn Forché is known as a “poet of witness.” Her four collections include The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), which received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), which was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her most recent collection is Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2003). Forché is the Lannan visiting professor of poetry and professor of English at Georgetown University in Maryland.

In the words of the Irish Times, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort is a “risen star of the international poetry world.” Born in the city of Minsk in 1981, Mort made her American debut with the collection Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), co-translated by the husband-and-wife team of Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Franz Wright. Her honors include the Hubert Burda Award for Eastern European Poetry.


Founded in 2003 by a generous gift from Susan Marley Newhouse ’55 and Donald Newhouse, the Newhouse Center for the Humanities generates and supports innovative, world-class programming in the humanities and arts. The Newhouse Center’s mission is to create a dynamic and cosmopolitan intellectual community that extends from Wellesley College to the greater Boston area and beyond.

For more information, visit or contact Jane Jackson at 781-283-2698 or


Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.
The Wellesley College arts curriculum and the highly acclaimed Davis Museum and Cultural Center are integral components of the College’s liberal arts education. For decades, various departments and programs from across the campus have enlivened the community with world-class programming — classical and popular music, visual arts, theatre, dance, author readings, symposia, and lectures by some of today’s leading artists and creative thinkers — most of which is free and open to the general public.