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Nobel Laureate to Highlight Santa Monica College Literary Series

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By Lookout Staff

February 17, 2016 -- A Nobel laureate, a historian and two ethnic writers will be featured during Santa Monica College's Spring 2016 Literary Talks & Readings scheduled to begin next week.

The free series, which features distinguished authors discussing and reading from their works, will be held on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Boulevard, and is sponsored by the SMC English Department and SMC Associates, a private organization that funds speakers and special programs on campus.

The series kicks off Thursday, February 25, when best-selling author Michael Datcher presents “Americus: The Historical Novel in the Present Historical Moment," a reading from his works.

Datcher is best known for the New York Times Bestseller “Raising Fences,” the uplifting memoir about a black LA inner-city teenager raised without a father. His 2014 novel “Americus," tells the story of identical twins living in St. Louis at the turn of the 20th Century.

A member of the English Department faculty at Loyola Marymount University, Datcher co-hosts the weekly KPFK (90.7 FM) public affairs news ‘magazine’ “Beautiful Struggle.” The reading is co-sponsored by SMC’s Black Collegians Program.

The series continues Thursday, March 31 when Viet Thanh Nguyen, an associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), reads from his debut novel "The Sympathizer," which tells the story of a double agent working in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Nguyen, who is co-editor of “Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field,” is the author of “Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America,” which argues that Asian American intellectuals have ignored their culture's saturation with capitalist practices they have idealized.

On Thursday, April 7, Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann will present “Chemistry in Art, Art in Chemistry, And the Spiritual Ground They Share” & “Metamorphic Kommuniques: A Reading of Poetical Works.”

Hoffmann – who shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Kenichi Fukui – is a Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Emeritus, at Cornell University.

He will read selections and talk about his writing, "which has carved out a land between science, poetry, and philosophy through essays, four nonfiction books, five volumes of poems, and three widely produced plays," series organizers said.

The series concludes Tuesday, April 26 with a reading by Monona Wali, whose debut novel "My Blue Skin Lover" won the Independent Publisher IPPY Gold award for best multicultural fiction.

A creative writing instructor at Santa Monica College and Antioch University, Wali is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and screenwriter and is an active volunteer with Inside Out Writers, an organization that offers writing classes for incarcerated youth, organizers said.

The readings will take place in Humanities & Social Science Lecture Hall 165 and begin at 11:15 a.m. Seating is on a first-arrival basis. For more information, call SMC’s Office of Public Programs at (310) 434-4100.

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