1:00 PM

Poets & Writers Festival - Living in Two Worlds: Reading and author talk

The Great Hall (S2-19, 2nd Floor of the Winnet Building)

Living in Two Worlds: Reading and author talk with Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun & Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased. 

The guests will read from their works and discuss what it means to be an American straddling a life in multiple worlds, whether that be as a Jamaican immigrant or as a survivor of anti-gay conversion therapy.

Book-signing to follow. After the main event, the writers will speak to students in groups about aspects of craft.

Here Comes the Sun: Margot, a 30-year-old desk clerk at a hotel in Jamaica will do whatever it takes to support her younger sister, Thandi. Their tale intertwines with the story of their abusive mother, Delores, and the rest of their poverty-stricken community. Margot finds a temporary refuge in her romantic relationship with a local woman named Verdene, but she can't escape the fear of violence that same-sex couples in their society face. And, as past secrets come to a head, the poor black and wealthy white worlds of Jamaica collide. This debut novel from Dennis-Benn is an astute social commentary on the intricacies of race, gender, wealth inequality, colorism, and tourism…. Haunting and superbly crafted, this is a magical book from a writer of immense talent and intelligence. –Adapted from Kirkus Reviews

Boy Erased: In a sharp and shocking debut memoir, Conley digs deep into the ex-gay therapy system…. When the author’s parents found out he might be gay, his hometown in Arkansas started to close in on him. The community he grew up in looked at him twice, his principles were blurred by constant self-doubt, and those he once considered friends became distant memories. As people of faith, his parents sent him to Love in Action, a Christian ministry devoted to “curing” those filled with “sin.” Conley has chosen to expose ex-gay therapy as abusive, and that is important…. An engaging memoir that will inevitably make readers long for a more equal future. –Kirkus Reviews