A discussion of African-American comedians and comedy includes an exploration of the pitfalls of writing biographies of living figures as author Mark Whittaker addresses why his recent book, Cosby: His Life and Times, omits the accusations of sexual aggression now mounting against Bill Cosby. The event, “Cosby, Pryor and the Biography of African-American Comedy,” was moderated by Gary Giddins, executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center. The panel included Whittaker and two other authors of books about African-American comedians, Scott Saul and Mel Watkins, who examine the evolution and polarities in African-American humor in the work of Cosby and Richard Pryor.
John Tytell, a longtime professor of modern American literature at Queens College, discusses his latest book, “Writing Beat and Other Occasions of Literary Mayhem,” a new look back at the Beat Generation. An author best known as a preeminent historian of that idiosyncratic period of postwar American literature, Tytell reflects on writers and writing from the perspective of someone who’s been doing it, and teaching it, for more than 50 years.
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Fiscal Affairs, January 5, 2015.
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Student Affairs and Special Programs, January 5, 2015.
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Faculty, Staff and Administration, January 5, 2015.
When it comes to writing fiction it often helps to listen to the words, “I deleted the first three hundred pages I wrote — the voice was wrong,” said author Roxana Robinson, referring to her latest novel, Sparta, which examines the Iraq’s war psychological wounds on a young man. Robinson, a visiting faculty member in the Department of English at Hunter College, spoke at the Creative Writing MFA Distinguished Writers Fall Lecture Series. The prolific author of five novels, three story collections and a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, Robinson says that while her subject may change the motive remains the same. “For me, it’s always emotion that drives the narrative.”
In the early 1980s, Lehman College conducted interviews with hundreds of Bronx residents — public figures, community leaders and regular folks — for an oral history project about the borough before, during and after its decade of arson, crime and abandonment. Thirty years later, Emita Hill, a former Lehman professor and vice president, and Janet Munch, a research librarian at the college, have collected some of the project’s most enduring stories into a new book, Bronx Faces and Voices: Sixteen Stories of Courage and Community.
Phil Klay, a former Marine who served in Iraq and a Hunter College MFA, ’11, discusses his acclaimed book, Redeployment, a poignant and powerful collection of short stories about war’s deep impact on soldiers in combat and when they return home. Klay recently won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
In his keynote address at the event “New World Disorder: Challenges for the UN in the 21st Century” at Baruch College, Kofi Annan reminded the audience that the way to build peace between countries was through respect for others. “When will we learn that identity is not monolithic or exclusive, but multiple and overlapping?” asks the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, who was the joint recipient, along with the UN, of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Chancellor James B. Milliken discusses the importance of the University’s capital budget request and discusses the importance of public support. Chancellor Milliken also provided an update on the development of new policies regarding sex based assault and harassment and states his appreciation of student leaders that aided in the amendments to student disciplinary polices. Plus, the Chancellor briefs the Board of Trustees on ongoing contract negations. “Being competitive for faculty and staff is essential to this university and the people it serves and the funding of that obligation has a great deal to do with CUNY’s ability to provide access and high quality,” says Chancellor Milliken.