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Novelist, poet, critic, human rights advocate Marjorie Agosin to speak at Ursuline April 11

February 15, 2017

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Ursuline College will host Chilean writer, critic and human rights activist Marjorie Agosín for a free, public lunchtime lecture on April 11, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the College’s Mullen Commuter Lounge (in the Mullen Building).
Those planning to attend should RSVP to Jackie Amos at jamos@ursuline.edu or 440-646-8110. Guests are invited to bring their own lunches; dessert and coffee will be provided.

Agosín will read from her works, I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Of Earth and Sea, Harbors of Light, and The White Islands (Las islas blancas) as she considers the important role of women as keepers of memories, of lost languages, and of lost communities. In her writing, it is women who keep these communal remembrances alive, serving as the central figures in the struggle for human rights. She will touch upon the themes of exile and dictatorship, of the Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) language, of family secrets, and of the power of poetry and literature. Her presentation will conclude with chance for an open discussion and Q&A.

Agosín was raised in Chile, the daughter of Jewish parents who fled Chile for the United States prior to the coup that installed Augusto Pinochet as dictator in 1973. In both her scholarship and her creative work, Agosín focuses on social justice, feminism, and remembrance. She has been recognized by the government of Chile with the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor and nominated for the Neustadt Prize for World Literature in 2003 and 2005. In 1998 she was honored by the United Nations for her human rights work. Her writings about, and humanitarian work for, women in Chile have been the focus of feature articles in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Ms. Magazine.

She earned a BA from the University of Georgia and an MA and Ph.D. from Indiana University. She is a professor of Spanish language and Latin American literature at Wellesley College and the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. Her books include “I Lived on Butterfly Hill” (2014), “The Light of Desire” (2010), “Of Earth and Sea: A Chilean Memoir” (2009), “Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of my Chilean Jewish Father” (2000), and “An Absence of Shadows” (1998). 

Agosín’s visit is sponsored by the Ursuline Studies Program, a required series of writing-intensive interdisciplinary courses that serves as the liberal arts core of an Ursuline education. The program is the first of its kind in the country to specifically focus on the ways in which women learn.

“We are delighted that Marjorie Agosín will be speaking at Ursuline College,” said Mary Frances Pipino, Ph.D., director of the Ursuline Studies Program. “Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Agosín has used her voice to promote social justice. She embodies the values we seek to instill in our students.”

Agosín’s lecture is co-sponsored by Literary Cleveland, a Northeast Ohio non-profit, committed to creating a strong community of readers and writers in Cleveland through workshops, classes, readings and other events.

Her biographical statement on the Wellesley College website reads: “My creative work is inspired by the theme of social justice as well as the pursuit of remembrance and the memorialization of traumatic historical events both in the Americas and in Europe. I have written about the holocaust through the portrayal of Anne Frank as well as about the history of Bosnian women during the siege of Sarajevo. I have also researched and written about the role of women in Latin America during authoritarian regimes in the seventies and eighties.”

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