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Santa Monica College Presents Two Award-Winning Writers This Month


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By Lookout Staff

September 6, 2017 -- A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who chronicled the legendary "Scopes Monkey Trial" and an award-winning Iranian-American poet will be featured during Santa Monica College's (SMC) Fall 2017 Literary Talks & Readings series.

The events, sponsored by the SMC Associates and the English Department, are free and are held on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Boulevard, in Humanities & Social Sciences Lecture Hall 165. Seating is on a first-arrival basis.

The series kicks off next Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. with a reading by Edward J. Larson, a renowned author, professor and lawyer and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion."
Editorial cartioon from 1871 depicting Charles Darwin as an Ape

The trial, which took place in the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, in the summer of 1925, pitted two celebrated attorneys.

William Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential candidate, served as prosecutor, and Clarence Darrow, was the defense attorney for high school teacher John T. Scopes, who was on trial for teaching human evolution in a public school.

Left: Editorial cartoon from 1871 depicting Charles Darwin as an Ape

"(T)he issues raised by the Scopes trial and legend endure precisely because they embody the characteristically American struggle between individual liberty and majoritarian democracy, and cast it in the timeless debate over science and religion," Larson wrote in the conclusion to his book.

Larson participated in the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Writers and Artists Program, which resulted in his 2011 book "An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science."

On Thursday, October 5, at 11:15 a.m., Iranian-American poet and author Sholeh Wolpé will read selections from her works and "underscore the importance of global awareness and of crossing language and cultural boundaries for a richer and deeper experience of the world," event organizers said.

Wolpé’s works include a critically praised translation of “The Conference of the Birds” by the 12th-century Iranian mystic poet Attar that "re-creates the intense beauty of the original Persian in contemporary English verse and poetic prose," wrote the book's publisher W.W. Norton & Co.

Wolpé is the author of four collections of poetry and three books of translations, and is the editor of three anthologies. Her latest collection of poems is “Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths.”

The event is co-sponsored by the SMC Department of Modern Languages & Cultures and SMC Global Studies.

For more information, call the SMC Office of Public Programs at (310) 434-4100.


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