Mary Tefft White Cultural Center

In Fall 2004, Mary Tefft (Happy) White provided Roger Williams University with a generous gift to launch the annual program, Mary Tefft White Lecture Series.  Since that time, the series, now known as Talking in the Library, hosts noted authors, scholars, and thinkers form our regional community and beyond. All lectures are free and open to the public.

 

Chris Castellani HeadshotLeading Men Cover

Christopher Castellani - Novelist and Author of Leading Men

Christopher Castellani lives in Boston, where he is the artistic director of GrubStreet, the country’s largest and leading independent creative writing center. He is the author of four critically-acclaimed novels (Leading Men; A Kiss from Maddalena; The Saint of Lost Things; and All This Talk of Love), as well as The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story, a collection of essays on point of view in fiction. He will be reading from and discussing his latest novel, Leading Men, a novel about Tennessee Williams that the New York Times called “alert, serious, sweeping.” For more information visit our LibGuide.

Date: October 16, 2019

Time: 4:30PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, University Library

 

 

 

 

Robert Boyers HeadshotTyranny of Virtue Cover

Robert Boyers - Author of The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Politcal Heresies

Robert Boyers is a public intellectual, editor of the quarterly Salmagundi, and Professor of English at Skidmore College, where he has taught for fifty years. The author of ten previous books, he writes regularly for such publications as The Nation, Harpers, The New Republic, Granta, Raritan, and many others. Drawing on his latest book, The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies, Professor Boyers, a self-described “liberal intellectual and college professor,” asks questions such as, has academic life turned into a minefield? Why are a great many liberals, people who should know better, invested in the drawing up of enemies lists and driven by the conviction that on critical issues no dispute may be tolerated? Isn’t the tolerance of difference the heart of the liberal tradition? For more information visit our LibGuide.

Date: November 20, 2019

Time: 4:30PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, University Library

Jewher Ilham HeadshotJewher Ilham Cover

Jewher Ilham

Jewher Ilham is the daughter of Uyghur scholar, Ilham Tohti, an internationally noted moderate voice who was dedicated to bridging the gap between the Uyghur people and the Han Chinese. Jewher arrived in the United States in 2013, following the detention of her father at the Beijing airport, as both prepared to travel to Indiana University for Professor Tohti’s fellowship. It was the last time she’d see her father, as he would be given an unprecedented life sentence in China, and she would not be able to return safely to her home. She since learned English, put herself through college, and has become an advocate for Uyghur people in her homeland. She will be discussing the issues behind the persecution of the Uyghurs in the Xinxiang region of China, where an estimated 1-3 million Uyghurs are being held in concentration/ re-education camps. For more information visit our LibGuide

Date: November 6, 2019

Time: 4:30 PM

Location: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, RWU Main Library

 

"Talking in the Library" Lecture Series - Fall Semester 2017

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Tim White - JournalistTim White – Journalist/Investigative Reporter

Introduction by Arlene Violet

Tim White will discuss his recent book The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story Of The Biggest Single Payday In The Criminal History Of The Northeast. It tells the story of 1975’s infamous Bonded Vault Heist in Providence. The book tracks how Mob boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca approved the heist of a secret Mob bank in Providence. For more information visit our LibGuide

Date: September 19, 2017

Time: 4:30 PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, University Library

 

Tina Cane – Rhode Island Poet Laureate

Tina Cane - Poet
Photographer: Mike Salerno

In 2016, Tina Cane was selected to be Rhode Island’s Sixth Poet Laureate. She received a BA from the University of Vermont and an MA in French literature from Middlebury College. Tina is the author of The Fifth Thought (Other Painters Press, 2008), a book-length poem. She is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI. For more information please see our LibGuide.

Date: November 2, 2017

Time: 4:30 PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, University Library

 

Jennifer Haigh –  Acclaimed Novelisthaigh.jpg

In conjunction with Rogers Free Library and the Jane Bodell endowment, novelist Jennifer Haigh will read and discuss her recent work. Haigh is the author of five books, most recently Heat and Light, a novel about a dying coal town that’s offered a second chance when the natural gas industry comes to town.  It has been named a Best Book of 2016 by The New York Times,The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and NPR.  For more information please see our LibGuide.

Date: November 6, 2017

Time: 7:00 PM

Place: Rogers Free Library, Bristol RI

 

Seshadri Vijay - Pulitzer Price PoetVijay Seshadri – 2014 Pulitzer Prize Poet

Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and moved to America at the age of five. He is the author of the poetry books "Wild Kingdom," "The Long Meadow," The Disappearances," and "3 Sections," as well as many essays, reviews, and memoir fragments. His work has been widely published and anthologized and recognized with many honors, most recently the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and, in 2015, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University, and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, where he has held the Michele Tolela Myers Chair. For more information, see our LibGuide.

Date: November 16, 2017

Time: 4:30 PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center, University Library

 

"Talking in the Library" Lecture Series - Spring Semester 2018

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Hayat Alvi – National Security Scholar

Hayat Alvi Dr. Alvi teaches the Theater Security and National Security Decision-Making courses: Security Strategies and Policy Analysis.  Dr. Alvi is also a scholar in the Greater Middle East Regional Studies Program at the Naval War College.  She has served as the Director of International Studies at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA.  Dr. Alvi also taught Political Science at the American University in Cairo, Egypt (2001-2005), and she has been a Fulbright Fellow in Damascus, Syria (1993-1994).  Dr. Alvi's specializations include International Relations, Political Economy, Comparative Politics, Islamic Studies, and Middle East and South Asian Studies.  She is proficient in Arabic and Urdu. Her most recent lecture was titled “ Female illiteracy and Malala.”

Date: March 20, 2018
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
Roger Williams University Library

 

Garth Greenwell – Novelist

Greenwell_web.jpgIn conjunction with Rogers Free Library and the Bermont Family endowment, novelist Garth Greenwell will read from and discuss his most recent book, What Belongs to You.  Greenwell‘s debut novel won the British Book Award for Debut of the Year, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and is being translated into eleven languages. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris ReviewA Public Space, and VICE, and he has written criticism for the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, among others.

Date: April 9, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Rogers Free Library, Bristol RI

Cosponsored with the Bermont Fellowship for Fiction and Nonfiction; The Rogers Free Library Jane Bodell Endowment; and the Anthony Quinn Foundation

Birss Lecture

Kathleen Cleaver – Law Professor and Activist

Kathleen_cleaver_jun16_0031_Web.jpgAs part of the 2017-2018 Birss selection, Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver, Kathleen Cleaver (widow of Eldridge Cleaver) will deliver the annual lecture. Kathleen Cleaver, has spent her life participating in the human rights struggle. She started alongside her parents in the 1950s civil rights protests in Alabama. By 1966, Kathleen Neal dropped out of Barnard College in New York to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where she served in its Campus Program based in Atlanta. She then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and from 1967 to 1971, she was the first Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party. After sharing years of exile, in Algeria and France with former husband Eldridge Cleaver, she returned with her family to the United States in late 1975. She later earned her BA and JD at Yale University. Currently, she is on faculty at Emory University School of Law.

Date: March 8, 2018
Time: 4:30 PM

Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
Roger Williams University Library

Cosponsored with the John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Program

"Talking in the Library" Lecture Series - Fall Semester 2018

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Talking in the Library Lecture Series - Fall Semester 2018 - 2019

Dr Teresa Bejan

Dr. Teresa Bejan - Associate Professor of Political Theory; Department of Politics and International Relations - University of Oxford

"Tolerating Intolerance: What Can Roger Williams Teach Us Today"

Teresa M. Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory and a Fellow of Oriel College at the University of Oxford. Before coming to Oxford, Dr Bejan served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto and as a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University in 2013 and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Leo Strauss Award for the best doctoral dissertation in political philosophy. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, History of Political Thought, the Review of Politics, History of European Ideas, and the Oxford Review of Education, among other academic journals. In 2016, she was awarded the 7th annual Balzan-Skinner Fellowship in Modern Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge.

Date: Thursday, September 6, 2018
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
Roger Williams University Library

For More information check out our LibGuide

Amy Wallen photo credit: A. Mathiowetz

Amy Wallen - Memoirist
 
"In Conversation with Susan Tacent about Amy’s new memoir When We Were Ghouls"

Amy E. Wallen is the Associate Director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs, NY. She also teaches creative writing classes at UC San Diego Extension. She’s had essays published in The Gettysburg ReviewThe Normal SchoolCountry Living and other national magazines and anthologies. Wallen’s first book, a novel called MoonPies & Movie Stars, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809
 
Co-sponsored by the Rogers Free Jane Bodell Endowment

For More information check out our LibGuide

Naila Al-Atrash

Steve Almond – essayist and short story writer

“From Rage to the Page: How artists use their work to fight for freedom and dignity.”

Steve Almond is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His new book, Bad Stories is a literary investigation of “what the hell just happened to our country.” He wrote it to keep from going crazy. Almond hosts the New York Times “Dear Sugars” podcast with Cheryl Strayed, and is a frequent contributor on WBUR in Boston. His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Erotica, and Best American Mysteries series.
 
Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
Roger Williams University Library

For More information check out our LibGuide

"Talking in the Library" Lecture Series - Spring Semester 2019

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Juliana Spahr – Poet, O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize Winner, 2009 
“An Afternoon of Poetry” 

Portrait of Julian SpahrJuliana Spahr edits the book series Chain Links with Jena Osman and the collectively funded Subpress with nineteen other people, Commune Editions with Joshua Clover and Jasper Bernes. She is a contributing editor to Commune magazine. With David Buuck she wrote Army of Lovers. She has edited with Stephanie Young A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism (Chain Links, 2011), with Joan Retallack Poetry & Pedagogy: the Challenge of the Contemporary(Palgrave, 2006), and with Claudia Rankine American Women Poets in the 21st Century(Wesleyan U P, 2002. Her most recent book is Du Bois’s Telegram. She is in process on a book with Stephanie Young and C. O. Grossman that examines the relationship between the grants and literary prizes awarded by private foundations and militancy. 

Date: Monday, March 25, 2019
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
Roger Williams University Library

Proudly supporting 2019 National Poetry Month Programming 

For more information see our LibGuide

David Abrams, Novelist
“A Reading and Conversation”

Portrait of David AbramsDavid Abrams is the author of the novels Brave Deeds (Grove/Atlantic, 2017) and Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic, 2012), a comedy about the Iraq War which Publishers Weekly called “an instant classic” and named a Top 10 Pick for Literary Fiction in Fall 2012.  Fobbit was also a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, an Indie Next pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and a finalist for the L.A. Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.  Abrams’ short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Montana Noir (Akashic Books, 2017), Fire and Forget (Da Capo Press, 2013), and Watchlist (O/R Books, 2015).  His stories and essays have appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, Glimmer Train Stories, Narrative, and many other publications. He earned a BA in English from the University of Oregon and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  He lives in Butte, Montana with his wife.  His blog, The Quivering Pen, can be found at: www.davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com  

Date: Monday, April 15, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Rogers Free Library, Bristol RI

Cosponsored with the Bermont Fellowship for Fiction and Nonfiction; The Rogers Free Library Jane Bodell Endowment; and the Anthony Quinn Foundation

For more information see our LibGuide

 

Talking Beyond the Library

Beyond poster