The Visiting Authors for the 2014 Neustadt Festival of International Literature & Culture
University of Oklahoma • October 22–24, 2014
Winner of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature
One of the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa, Mia Couto was born in 1955 in Beira, Mozambique. Couto studied medicine and biology in Maputo and began his literary career during the struggle for Mozambique’s independence. Raíz de Orvalho, Couto’s first book of poetry, was published in 1983. Sleepwalking Land, his first novel and the novel chosen as the representative text when he was nominated for the Neustadt Prize, was published in 1992 to great acclaim and is widely considered one of the best African books of the twentieth century.
Couto has been awarded many literary prizes, including the Prémio Vergílio Ferreira in 1999 and the Prémio União Latina de Literaturas Românicas in 2007. He received the 2013 Camões Prize for Literature, a prestigious award given to Portuguese-language writers, and he will be awarded the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature during the Neustadt Festival at the University of Oklahoma this fall. The first Mozambican author to be nominated for and to win the Neustadt Prize, Couto is considered to be one of the most important writers in Mozambique. His works have been published in more than twenty languages.
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Niyi Afolabi teaches Luso-Brazilian literature, Yoruba, and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Golden Cage: Regeneration in Lusophone African Literature and Culture; Afro-Brazilians: Cultural Production in a Racial Democracy; and editor of The Afro-Brazilian Mind and Marvels of the African World, among others.
Dorothy Alexander is a poet, storyteller, and publisher from Cheyenne, Oklahoma. As co-owner of Village Books Press, she focuses on publishing Oklahoma poets. She has authored four collections of poetry herself, including her book Lessons from an Oklahoma Girlhood (2008) and Travelin’ Music: A Poetic Tribute to Woody Guthrie (2010).
Moussa P. Blimpo
Moussa P. Blimpo is an assistant professor in the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. His research and teaching focus on issues in development economics, the economics of education, and public economics in developing countries, particularly in African countries. He holds a PhD in economics from New York University and spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research (siepr).
David Brookshaw is an emeritus professor at the University of Bristol, UK. He has published widely in the field of Brazilian and lusophone postcolonial studies. He has also translated the work of a number of authors from Portuguese. These include, most recently, The Tuner of Silences (2013) and The Confession of a Lioness (forthcoming in 2015), both by Mia Couto. He is currently working on a translation of this author’s essays.
Nathan Brown is a singer-songwriter, photographer, and award-winning poet who was recently appointed the Poet Laureate of Oklahoma for 2013/2014. He travels widely, offering readings, house concerts, creativity workshops, and musical performances in an effort to bring back the hint of a smile and the hope for a good story in poems . . . poems unafraid of making sense . . . poems that carry us to better places.
Zermarie Deacon is an associate professor in the Department of Human Relations and an adjunct associate professor in the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at OU. She is additionally an affiliate faculty member in the College of International & Area Studies and the Women’s & Gender Studies Center for Social Justice. She has done extensive work in Mozambique, and in 2005 she received a US Department of State Fulbright Fellowship in order to examine Mozambican women’s recovery from civil war.
Nancy El Gendy
Nancy El Gendy is a visiting assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Oklahoma. In her recently defended dissertation, El Gendy researched the Muslim female body across 21st century Arab and Arab American novels by women. Her academic interests include contemporary postcolonial, multiethnic, as well as feminist literature and theory. She is currently revising her dissertation into a book.
Greg Graham is an assistant professor of African & African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He received his PhD and MA from Temple University and MSc and BA degrees from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. His areas of specialization include African politics, Caribbean politics, Africana political thought, critical race theory, classical political theory, and modern political theory.
Ken Hada is the author of four books of poetry, including Margaritas & Redfish (Lamar University Press, 2013). His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac program, and his book Spare Parts received the National Western Heritage Award for poetry in 2010. He directs the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival at ECU in Ada, Oklahoma.
Juan C. López-Pérez
Juan C. López-Pérez is a scholar and professor of Spanish and Portuguese literature at the University of Oklahoma. He is currently writing his first book, La moderna mujer esotérica: literatura puertorriqueña y brasileña de finales del siglo XIX. His interests center on Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures, 1800 to the present. In particular, he focuses on critical discourses of gender, subalternity, and nation in colonial and postcolonial societies.
Julia McConnell is a poet and a librarian living in Oklahoma City. She has a BA in English and a master’s in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. Julia’s work has appeared in This Land Press, Blood and Thunder, Elegant Rage, Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me, and Oklahoma Poems . . . and Their Poets.
Benjamin Myers is the author of two books of poetry: Lapse Americana (2013) and Elegy for Trains (2010). He has been honored with an Oklahoma Book Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book and with a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Myers teaches poetry writing and literature at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he is the Crouch-Mathis Associate Professor of Literature.