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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Speakers 2008/2009

Selected Previous Joynes Events:

Joynes Event: Elva Treviño Hart, author of memoir Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

November 17, 2008

Winner of the American Book Award, the Alex Award and the Violet Crown

From Publishers Weekly: "Hart's expressive and remarkably affecting memoir concerns her childhood as the daughter of Mexican immigrants who worked as migrant workers to feed their six children. Hart remembers...when the entire family participated in the backbreaking field labor, driven mercilessly by Apa (her father), who was determined to eaern enough maney to allow all his children to graduate from high school. Hart eloquently reveals the harsh toll that poverty and discrimination took on her family in sharply etched protraits of Ama, Hart's worn-out mother who clearly loved her daughter but was too exhausted to show it; of her brother Rudy, who refused to sit at the back of the bus because he was Mexican; and of her teenage sisters, who struggled to keep their dignity in the muddy fields. At 17, she drove her father back to Mexico to visit his family; she recalls how he suddenly changed into a happy man who felt at home with his land, his language and his people. This is a beautifully written debut from a writer to watch."

Joynes Event: Alison Bechdel, author of the graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
November 6, 2008


From Publishers Weekly Starred Review:  This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Fun Home refers both to the funeral parlor, where he put makeup on the corpses and arranged the flowers, and the family's meticulously restored gothic revival house, filled with gilt and lace, where he liked to imagine himself a 19th-century aristocrat. The art has greater depth and sophistication that Dykes; Bechdel's talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man's secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter's burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. The recursively told story, which revisits the sites of tragic desperation again and again, hits notes that resemble Jeanette Winterson at her best. Bechdel presents her childhood as a ''still life with children'' that her father created, and meditates on how prolonged untruth can become its own reality. She's made a story that's quiet, dignified and not easy to put down. (June) "

Patricia Smith - March 9, 2009

Patricia Smith was a four-time champion of the National Poetry Slam and a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry. She was featured on the HBO program Def Poetry Jam.

Mark Richard - March 10, 2009

Richard's short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, GQ, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. "There are few writer's today whose use of language is as sure, whose dialogue is as quirky, funny and true as Mark Richard's." --The Wall Street Journal

Joynes Event: Anne Fadiman

February 23, 2009

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, the Salon Book Award for nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Magazine Award for Reporting

Anne Fadiman, an award-winning author in residence at Yale University, will discuss the Hmong refugee community in California and its challenges with the U.S. medical system in a lecture hosted by the Plan II Honors Program and the School of Social Work.

Fadiman will discuss the tragic case of one epileptic child who became a casualty of the cultural battle between her family and the American doctors who were treating her disease. Participants at the event will include people, many of them refugees themselves, who provide resettlement, health and mental services to refugee populations and victims of human trafficking.

Fadiman is the author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, the Salon Book Award for nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for current interest nonfiction and the Boston Book Review Ann Rea Jewell Award for nonfiction.

Fadiman's essays and articles have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post. While she was a staff writer at Life, she won a National Magazine Award for Reporting for her reportage on suicide among the elderly.


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