Georgetown’s 2010 Lannan Literary Symposium and Festival explored the most vital and purposeful connections across the themes in its title, Literacy, Literature and Democracy. On April 6th and 7th, the Symposium welcomed a rich selection of writers, journalists and activists to the Georgetown campus to discuss and to demonstrate how universal access to literacy, critical attention to the urgency of the creative imagination and the power of the written word, and care for the fragility of authentic democracy must all equally concern citizens working for justice in our contemporary world.
Topics across the two days of readings, roundtables and performances included local and national literacy projects like Mr. Eggers’ 826 Valencia; literary, cultural and practical responses to challenges like the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina; and the ongoing global refugee crisis, with special focus on vulnerable populations in central Africa. The Symposium concluded with a special tribute to the poet Lucille Clifton, with readings in her honor by Mr. Ellis and Mr. Abani.
Tuesday, April 6
Dave Eggers in conversation with Maureen Corrigan and Deborah Tannen
7:30 PM | Gaston Hall
A reception to follow in Copley Formal Lounge.
Wednesday, April 7
Writing Beyond Catastrophe: Literatures and Cultures of National Revival in Post-Katrina America
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM | Riggs Library
A Discussion featuring Michael Eric Dyson, Dave Eggers and Happy Johnson.
Writing (and Working) Beyond Genocide: Literary, Cultural and Social Activisms in a Changing Africa, Session I
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge
Readings by Uwem Akpan, SJ and Adam Hochschild.
Writing (and Working) Beyond Genocide: Literary, Cultural and Social Activisms in a Changing Africa, Session II
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge
A roundtable featuring Mekkondji Nadingam, Allison Correll (MA ’09), Chris Abani, Uwem Akpan and Adam Hochschild.
A Tribute to Lucille Clifton
7:30 PM | The Fisher Family Colloquium Room: The Rafik Hariri Building
Featuring Michael S. Glaser and Carolyn Forché, with readings by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Chris Abani.