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The following is a list of speakers for the Spring 2017 Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia.

Justyne Fischer Photo Small

Tuesday, February 7th - 2:00 - 3:00 PM, Germantown, HT 216
Justyne Fischer, Award Winning Artist and Educator

Justyne Fischer will discuss her Art Exhibit - Open Season: Social Memorials. The exhibit will be held from February 6th - March 31th, Globa Hall Fover in Germantown. Art Exhibit Life-Size Portraits: Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald. Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, William Wingate, and Sandra Bland. Sponsored by the Art Department.

Amy Nutt Photo Small

Wednesday, February 8th - 12:00 PM, Germantown, Globe Hall
Amy Nutt, Author

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Amy Ellis Nutt covers health and science for The Washington Post. In 2017, the Supreme Court will address legal issues of transgender individuals. Nutt will discuss her book Becoming Nicole (2015). In this book, Nutt traces the transformation of Wyatt, one of identical twin boys, into Nicole and the transformation of their family. Nutt will differentiate between gender identity and anatomy.

Dwight Watkins Photo Small

Tuesday, February 21th - 11:00 AM, Cultural Arts Theatre 1, Takoma Park/Silver Spring
Tuesday, February 21th - 7:00 PM, Globa Hall, Germantown
Dwight Watkins, Author

Watkins, a former Baltimore drug dealer, is the author of A Crack Rock Memoir, 2016 and The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America, 2015. Watkins will discuss The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America (2015).With a chapter on Freddie Grey, Watkins asserts that putting down all guns is one answer to the epidemic problem that involves education, jobs, prisons, and health. Co-Sponsors IJRC, Humanities Division, Black Student Union

Kiese Laymon Photo Small

Tuesday, March 28th -12:30 PM, Globa Hall, Germantown (EVENT CANCELLED)
Kiese Laymon, Author

Winner of the Stanford 2014 Saroyan Prize for Writing, Laymon is a writer, editor, and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. Laymon will discuss his stunning book: How To Kill Yourself and Others in America, focusing on his life as a writer and the choice of life over death in a nation where murder is easy.

Aminatta Forna Photo Small

Thursday, April 6th - 11:00 AM, Globe Hall , Germantown
Aminatta Forna, Author

Award–winning novelist, Forna was born in Scotland and raised in Sierra Leone and Britain. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown. Focusing on her illuminating book, The Devil That Danced on the Water, a memoir of her dissident father and her life in Sierra Leone, Forna will address politics in Sierra Leone, her writing life, and the relationship between the two.

Vaddey Ratner Photo Small

Tuesday, April 18th - 7:00 PM, Globe Hall, Germantown
Vaddey Ratner, Author

New York Times bestselling author of In the Shadow of the Banyan, Ratner, a victim of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, in which she endured forced labor, starvation, and the death of her father, arrived in the U.S. as a refugee, not knowing any English. She became her high school valedictorian and graduated summa cum laude from Cornell. Ratner’s haunting and lyrical novel, Music of the Ghosts (April 2017) centers on the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide, illustrating the shattering impact of genocide on a nation but providing a modicum of hope. Ratner will address her creative writing process and the questions of forgiveness, justice, & atonement.

Kathy Bullock Photo Small

Tuesday, April 25th - 7:00 PM, Globe Hall, Germantown
Kathy Bullock, Musician/Performer/Professor

An esteemed musicologist, music theorist, and music historian, Bullock earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Music Theory from Washington University and her B.A. from Brandeis University. She is a professor of music and chair of the Music Department at Berea College. Bullock performs, lectures, and leads workshops in the United States, Great Britain, Ghana, and Jamaica on music and the culture of the African diaspora. She will lecture, perform, and engage the audience in African and African-American music.

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