This year SPR will be a media partner with the Hagan Center Speaker Series: Diversity Dialogues. The Hagan Center Speaker Series “Diversity Dialogues: Conversations About Race and Equity" runs from January through June 2021 and will include a wide range of professors, authors, and editors speaking over Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook. The evening events are open to the public and will be a 60-minute live streamed conversation with a moderator to present questions.
- January 20 – Marlon James at 5:00 p.m.
- January 27 – Daudi Abe at 6:30 p.m.
- February 17 – Kevin Young at 5:00 p.m.
- March 3 – Anu Taranath at 6:30 p.m.
- March 10 – Tracy K. Smith at 5:00 p.m.
- April 14 – Carlos Gil at 6:30 p.m.
- April 27 – Angie Thomas at 5:30 p.m.
- May 12 – Luis Rodriguez at 6:30 p.m.
- June 2 – Hilton Als at 5:00 p.m.
- June 9 – Omari Amili at 6:30 p.m.
About the Speakers:
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language and Literature, and from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College. Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. His best-selling book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is the first in the Dark Star Trilogy, a fantasy series set in African legend. Black Leopard, Red Wolf was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in the Fiction category and was named one of the Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2019.
Daudi Abe is a Seattle-based professor, writer, and historian who has taught and written about culture, race, gender, education, communication, hip-hop, and sports for over 20 years. He is the author of the book 6 ‘N the Morning: West Coast Hip-Hop Music 1987-1992 & the Transformation of Mainstream Culture and From Memphis and Mogadishu: The History of African Americans in Martin Luther King County, Washington, 1858-2014 at www.BlackPast.org. His work has appeared in The Stranger and The Seattle Times, and he has appeared on national media such as MSNBC and The Tavis Smiley Show. Abe holds an MA in human development and a PhD in education from the University of Washington. His forthcoming book is Emerald Street: A History of Hip-Hop in Seattle.
Kevin Young was born on November 8, 1970, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He received his BA from Harvard University in 1992, where he studied poetry with Lucie Brock-Broido and Seamus Heaney, and his MFA in creative writing from Brown University in 1996. His poetry collections include Brown (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018); Book of Hours (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), winner of the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, given for the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States each year; To Repel Ghosts (Zoland Books, 2001), which was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award; and Most Way Home (Steerforth, 1995), selected for the National Poetry Series and winner of the Zacharis First Books Award from Ploughshares.
Anu Taranath is a professor at the University of Washington specializing in global literature, identity, race, and equity. She has received University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award, a “Best of Seattle” designation from Seattle Weekly, and multiple national Fulbright awards and fellowships. She is the author of the book, Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World, as well as a consultant for schools, colleges, libraries, community organizations, and government agencies on social justice and global issues. Learn more about her work at www.anutaranath.com.
Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith is the Poet Laureate of the United States, and author of three acclaimed books of poetry: The Body's Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award; and, most recently, Life on Mars, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, and a New Yorker, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Her memoir, Ordinary Light, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Other honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a Whiting Writers' Award, and an Academy of American Poets Fellowship. A professor of creative writing at Princeton University, she lives in Princeton with her family.
Carlos Gil is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Washington, where he has taught the history of Latin America for over thirty years. He has previously toured the state offering a public lecture entitled, “The Hispanization of the United States.”
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still lives in Jackson, Mississippi. A former teen rapper, she holds a BFA in creative writing from Belhaven University. Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and major motion picture from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is on sale now.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodriguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Currently working as a peacemaker among gangs on a national and international level, Rodriguez helped create Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural, a multiarts, multimedia cultural center in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Rodriguez is the author of several collections of poetry, including My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems 1989-2004 and Borrowed Bones: New Poems from the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. He has won a Poetry Center Book Award, Paterson Poetry Prize, and PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and was honored with a Lannan Fellowship for Poetry.
Hilton Als is an American writer and critic. His first book, The Women, was published in 1996 and his second book, White Girls, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014. Hilton Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for ‘The Talk of the Town,’ he became a staff writer in 1994, theatre critic in 2002, and lead theater critic in 2012. His reviews are not simply reviews; they are provocative contributions to the discourse on theatre, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America. In 2017 Als won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and in 2018 the Langston Hughes Medal. In 2020 he was named an inaugural Presidential Visiting Scholar at Princeton University for the 2020-21 academic year. He is currently working on a new book titled I Don’t Remember (Penguin, early 2021), a book length essay on his experiences in AIDS era New York.
Omari Amili earned a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington Tacoma, where his research focused on the benefits of college education for formerly incarcerated people. In 2018, he was named a Distinguished Alumni by Pierce College, and has been featured in The Seattle Times and The News Tribune. Amili is an author and community leader who has worked with South Seattle College, the ACLU of Washington, and Civil Survival.