Plan II Honors Logo
Plan II Honors

Joynes Reading Room Literary Speaker Series

Fall 2017 Speakers

All talks take place at 7 p.m. in the Joynes Reading Room; all are free and open to the public. 

Amy Gajda
September 14 
"Freedom of the Press in the Trump Era"

Amy Gajda is recognized internationally for her expertise in media law, privacy law and higher education law. She brings her background as an award-winning television, radio and print journalist to her scholarly work navigating the tensions between social regulation and protected expression. Her scholarly articles on related matters have appeared in the California Law Review and multiple other legal journals, and she has presented her work at scholarly conferences around the world.
Her most recent book, The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press, published in 2015 by Harvard University Press, explores judicial oversight of journalistic news judgment. An earlier book, The Trials of Academe (Harvard University Press 2009), focused on academic expression on campus. She co-authored Mass Media Law (Foundation 2016) and The Law and Higher Education (CAP 2016), and published invited opinion pieces in The New York Times, Slate, the New York Daily News, and other national publications. She is also a frequent commenter on media law, privacy and press rights in print and broadcast media around the world, including the CBS Morning News, the GuardianThe New Yorker and the Australian Broadcasting Network.
Gajda practiced law in Washington, D.C., before starting her teaching career at the University of Illinois, where she had appointed in both the law school and the journalism school. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Virginia and her home state of Michigan. She has chaired the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Defamation and Privacy and its Section on Mass Communication, and she led the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Richard Fish
October 11 
“What Makes Blind Musicians So Gifted”

Dr. Richard Fish is both an ophthalmologist (specializing in retinal surgery), and an experienced musician (rock and jazz drums). His book The Blind Musician explores the connection between visual disability and musical performance. The book provides a crash course in musical history, from George Frederic Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach (who were probably blinded by the same ophthalmic quack), through the long legacy of blind blues artists in the American south, the blind minstrel tradition of Ukraine, a blind orchestra in Cairo who cannot see their conductor, and many notable contemporary musicians such as Doc Watson, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Dr. Fish combines the fascinating biographies of these individuals with discussions of their individual medical issues. He explores the connection between visual impairment and musical aptitude. 

Sam Sax
October 18

Poet Sam Sax's first book, Madness, was selected by Pulitzer-Prize-winner Terrance Hayes for the National Poetry Series, and was published this month by Penguin. Sax completed a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at the Michener Center at UT Austin. The Joynes Reading Room has a limited quantity of the book to give away (free) to undergraduate honors students at UT Austin. Students may inquire in person at the front desk of the Joynes Reading Room.

"These are poems so unapologetically fierce and filthy they are holy." – Brenda Shaughnessy

"Madness is a wild, resolute book. An exposed, unbridled energy drives its emotional truths while virtuoso technique undergirds its formal and intellectual authority." – Terrance Hayes

“This is a madness I relish.” – Patricia Smith

Fiona McFarlane
November 6

McFarlane's novel The Night Guest was translated into 17 languages and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, an LA Times Book Prize, and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, among others; her collection of short stories The High Places won the 2017 International Dylan Thomas Prize. Her stories have been published in the New Yorker, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Best Australian Stories. In 2017, she won an O. Henry Prize and was included in Freeman's magazine's "Future of New Writing" list. She teaches in the English Department at the University of Sydney.

Natalie Diaz
November 16

Natalie Diaz is the author of the critically-acclaimed collection When My Brother Was an Aztec. Diaz attended Old Dominion University on an athletic scholarship and played basketball professionally in Asia and Europe, before returning to the U.S. to complete her MFA in Creative Writing (also at Old Dominion). She has worked with he last remaining speakers of Mojave on a language revitalization project.

  •   Map
  • Plan II Honors Program

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    CLA 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250