Poet M. NourbeSe Philip to speak at Fairfield University on Nov. 19



M. NourbeSe Philip, a poet, essayist, novelist, and playwright, best-known for cataloging racial memory, will speak at Fairfield University on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. in the Wien Theatre of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Philip will talk about forced global migration in a presentation entitled "Zong!" The lecture is free and open to the public.

A native of Tobago, Philip completed undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies and a Master's degree in political science and a degree in law at the University of Western Ontario. She practiced law for seven years in Toronto, during which she completed two books of poetry. In l983 she gave up the practice of law to devote more time to writing.

Her latest book of poetry, also entitled, "Zong," is based on a legal decision, Gregson vs Gilbert, at the end of the eighteenth century, related to the murder of Africans on board a slave ship.

"Fiction," she says, "is about telling lies, but you must be scathingly honest in telling those lies. Poetry is about truth telling, but you need the lie - the artifice of the form to tell those truths."

Although primarily a poet, Philip also writes fiction and non-fiction. In 1990, she was made a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry and in 1991 became a McDowell Fellow.

Philip's lecture is part of the Cultural Critiques: Remapping Atlantic Space lecture series, which is funded by the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts & Sciences and co-sponsored by The Center for Faith and Public Life; The Creative Minds Seminar; the departments of English, Sociology and Anthropology, Visual and Performing Arts, and History; the Honors Program; and the programs in Black Studies, Peace and Justice, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, American Studies, and Women's Studies.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 11, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 126