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Crime, Nature and Poetry at SMC Fall Literary Series
By Lookout Staff
September 22, 2023 -- Crime fiction, awakening the senses and the connection between fantasy and reality are among the topics that will be discussed at Santa Monica College's (SMC) Literary Talks & Readings series this fall.
The free series, which features "a noteworthy spectrum of writers," will be held online as live virtual events via Zoom, event organizers said. A brief discussion and audience Q&A follow the talks.
The fall lineup kicks off on Tuesday, October 3, at 11:15 a.m. with a talk by author Leye Adenle titled “The Joys and Challenges of Crime Fiction.”
A London resident born in Nigeria, Adenle is "an award-winning author of gripping and suspenseful crime thrillers that explore the darker side of human nature," organizers said.
"His writing presents vivid descriptions of Nigerian society with a gritty realism, capturing the complexity of life in a country often misunderstood by outsiders."
Adenle's debut novel, “Easy Motion Tourist,” won the prestigious Prix Marianne in France. His other novels include “When Trouble Sleeps” (2019) and “Unfinished Business” (2023).
Adenle has written and recorded pieces for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service and presented talks at universities and literary festivals around the world.
The series continues Tuesday, October 17, at 11:15 a.m. with a reading titled “The ‘Oceanic’ of Poetry" by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, the author of four books of poetry. They include “Oceanic” (2018) and “Lucky Fish” (2011), winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books.
She is also the author of a collection of nature essays titled “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” (2020), which was named a 2022 Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble.
A professor of English at the University of Mississippi, Nezhukumatathil has had work published in major journals including American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner and Tin House and has been widely anthologized.
On Tuesday, November 14, at 11:15 a.m., celebrated interpreter of science and nature Diane Ackerman will present a talk titled “Awakening the Senses, Romancing the Words."
Ackerman -- who has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her: the dianeackerone -- is the award-winning author of two dozen works of nonfiction and poetry, including “A Natural History of the Senses” (1990), which inspired the popular PBS series.
Her 2014 New York Times bestselling book “The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us” (2014) was awarded a PEN New England Henry David Thoreau Prize for literary excellence in nature writing.
Her poetry and essays have been published in leading literary journals, as well as The New York Times (where she is also an Op-Ed columnist), Smithsonian, The New Yorker and National Geographic.
A Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the Lavan Poetry Prize, Ackerman has been honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library.
The fall lineup concludes Thursday, November 30 at 11:15 a.m. with a conversation with Award-winning Chinese American novelist Ling Ma titled "Is the Fantastical an Axis of Reality?"
Her most recent book -- “Bliss Montage: Stories” (2022) -- was named a National Indie Bestseller, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.
An assistant professor of practice in the Arts at the University of Chicago, Ma is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel “Severance” (2018), which has been translated into seven languages and received the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.
She is a former journalist and editor, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Chicago Reader and Buzzfeed, among other publications. Ma's fellowships include a Whiting Award and an NEA creative writing fellowship.
A Zoom link to each talk will be posted with the listing on the SMC Events calendar at smc.edu/events shortly before the event begins. To attend the events, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.
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