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Acclaimed novelist and poet to headline NOMMO African American Authors Series at U of M

October 24, 2011

What: Eighth annual NOMMO African American Authors Series
Who: Novelist Percival Everett and poet Elizabeth Alexander
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2, (Percival Everett); Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 (Elizabeth Alexander). Both events begin at 7 p.m.
Where: Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, University of Minnesota West Bank campus, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis

Two widely acclaimed contemporary African American writers have been selected for this year's NOMMO African American Authors series, co-sponsored by the Givens Foundation for African American Literature and the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Percival Everett and Elizabeth Alexander will read from and discuss their work with host Alexs Pate, U of M professor and author of the novel "Amistad" on Wednesday, Nov. 2, (Percival Everett) and Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 (Elizabeth Alexander) at 7 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, on the university’s West Bank.

About Percival Everett
Everett is the author of nearly twenty novels, three collections of short fiction and two volumes of poetry, including the recent collection "Swimming Swimmers Swimming". Among his novels are "Assumption" and "I Am Not Sidney Poitier," which won the Believer Book Award. Everett is also the recipient of the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the Academy Award from an American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Vallombrosa Von Rezzori Prize, the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature and a New American Writing Award. His stories have been included in the "Pushcart Prize Anthology" and "Best American Short Stories." He has served as a judge for, among others, the 1997 National Book Award for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1991. He teaches fiction writing and critical theory and is currently Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

About Elizabeth Alexander
Best known for composing and delivering President Barack Obama's inaugural poem "Praise Song for the Day," Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher. Alexander has published five books of poems, including American Sublime, which was listed on the American Library Association's 2006 "Notable Books of the Year" and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize that same year. Her first young adult collection (co-authored with Marilyn Nelson), "Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color," received the 2008 Connecticut Book Award. Her two collections of essays are "The Black Interior" and "Power and Possibility," and her play "Diva Studies" was produced at the Yale School of Drama. She has also composed words for musical projects with composers Elana Ruehr and Lewis Spratlan.

Tickets are available for $15 per event or $25 for the two-event series. Complimentary tickets available to U of M students and Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Call (612) 624-2345 or visit www.tickets.umn.edu.

About the NOMMO African American Authors series
Presented annually since 2004 by the Givens Foundation for African American Literature (givens.org), the series provides rare opportunities to publicly define the state of the art of African American literature and to locate the work and contributions of national as well as Twin Cities African American writers within the present authoring of our literary tradition.

A Dogon word meaning "the magic power of the word," NOMMO has been co-sponsored since 2007 by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries (lib.umn.edu/friends). This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the state's general fund and its arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008. Additional sponsors this year are the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (uroc.umn.edu), University of Minnesota Creative Writing Program (creativewriting.umn.edu) and the Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writers Series (www.english.umn.edu/engagement/edelstein.html).

Alexander NOMMO - small 300
Best known for composing and delivering President Barack Obama's inaugural poem "Praise Song for the Day," Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher.

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