University of Rochester

EVENT: Six Authors Celebrate Their Craft in Neilly Series Lectures for 2005-06

September 13, 2005

The University of Rochester's Neilly Lecture Series opens its fifth season with translator and actress Caraid O'Brien discussing the beauty and drama of Yiddish literature and how it has influenced American pop culture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in Hoyt Auditorium on the University's River Campus.

Six writers representing the arts and sciences will be guests for the 2005-06 series, which is supported by the Andrew H. Neilly and Janet Dayton Neilly Endowment, and the River Campus Libraries. All lectures are free, open to the pubic, and located on the River Campus.

O'Brien and Obie Award-winning director Aaron Beall have collaborated in different venues on exploring the influence of Yiddish theater. A review in the New York Times described O'Brien's work as ardent and passionate as she champions Yiddish literature to varied audiences. A graduate of Boston University, O'Brien has translated several Yiddish works, including those of David Pinski and Sholem Asch, in whose play, God of Vengeance, she has performed. She will be introduced by Rabbi Shamai Kanter.

Acclaimed novelist and poet Ha Jin will lecture about his latest book, War Trash, timed for the University- and community-wide celebration of Meliora Weekend at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in Hubbell Auditorium. War Trash, the story of a man forced to fight in the Chinese army during the Korean War, won the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and one of his earlier works, Waiting, received a National Book Award and the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award. Ha Jin also is the author of volumes of poetry, short stories, and other novels. He will be introduced by Greta Niu, assistant professor of English at the University of Rochester.

Theoretical neurobiologist and writer William H. Calvin will talk about A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond, his latest book that analyzes what led to the "Mind's Big Bang" about 50,000 years ago at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. Author of a dozen books, mostly for general readers, Calvin of the University of Washington at Seattle will examine whether a big brain is necessary for higher intellectual function. Dr. Robert J. Joynt, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Rochester, will introduce him.

Writer and teacher Rachel Cohen earned attention for her 2004 first book, A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, 1854-1967, because of her unusual approach to evoking characters from the past. She will speak about her research and writing at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. For A Chance Meeting, Cohen selected 30 American artists, mostly writers, and described their friendships in a most entertaining manner. She will be introduced by Grant Holcomb, the Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery.

David Rosner, a writer and expert on environmental and industrial illness, will discuss attempts by the chemical and lead industries to deceive Americans about dangers their products pose to workers, consumers, and the public at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. Co-author with Gerald Markowitz of Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, Rosner directs the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University where he is professor of history and public health. Theodore Brown, professor of history at Rochester, will introduce Rosner.

Humorist and playwright Kevin Kling will end the Neilly season with his trademark poignant and hilarious monologues at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. A frequent storyteller on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Kling has expressed himself in many different arenas: theater, television, radio, recordings, and literature. His plays, such as The Ice Fishing Play and Gravity vs. Levity, have been performed at national and international festivals, including the Sundance Institute. He will be introduced by local storyteller Jay Stetzer.

For more information on the series, contact (585) 275-4461.

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