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Plan II Honors

Joynes Reading Room Literary Speaker Series

Spring 2018 Speakers

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


Tarfia Faizullah
March 5, 7 p.m.

Tarfia Faizullah is a Bengali-American poet. She won a 2009 Cohen Award. Her book, Seam won the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Awards. Her work appears in American Poetry Review, Memorious, and Blackbird.


Antonio Ruiz Camacho
March 8, 7 p.m.

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho was born and raised in Toluca, Mexico. A former Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University, a Dobie Paisano fellow in fiction by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, a John Garder Fellow at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a Yaddo Fellow, and a Walter E. Dakin fellow in fiction at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he earned his MFA from The New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Texas Monthly, The Millions, and elsewhere. His debut story collection BAREFOOT DOGS won the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction, and was named a Best Book of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Chronicle, Texas Observer and PRI's The World. Co-hosted with the Department of English.


Kareem Abdulrahman
March 22, 6 p.m.

Kareem Abdulrahman is a translator and Kurdish affairs analyst. He obtained his MA in Journalism from the University of Westminster in 2005. From 2006 to 2014, he worked as a Kurdish media and political analyst for the BBC, where translation was part of his job. In 2013, he was awarded a place in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s prestigious mentorship programme. He translated prominent Iraqi Kurdish novelist Bakhtiyar Ali's I Stared at the Night of the City into English (UK; Periscope; 2016), making it the first Kurdish novel to be translated into English. He is currently translating Ali's The Last Pomegranate for New York-based Archipelago Books. He is also the managing editor at Insight, a political analysis service focusing on Iraq and Kurdish affairs. He lives in London. 
Summary of Beyond Borders Talk
Kurdish is a minority language that has lived for centuries in the shadow of the Middle East's dominant languages: Arabic, Persian and Turkish. What does it mean to translate from a language that still lacks reliable and authoritative resources, including dictionaries?  Kareem Abdulrahman will discuss these challenges and the joys of translating from Kurdish into English. Effective translators do much more than spend hours at their desk racking their brains for the "perfect" word or phrase. Mr. Abdulrahman will describe some of these activities and tasks and also the role of translators as a bridge between cultures. In a world where some politicians focus on short-sighted nationalism and building walls, what does it mean to be a literary translator and what does it entail? He will also discuss the politics of publishing in order to highlight how the absence of a Kurdish nation-state and the lack of effective cultural institutions have directly impacted endeavours to introduce Kurdish fiction into the Anglophone world.

Brent Iverson
April 2, 6 p.m.

Dr. Brent Iverson became the second dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at the Unversity of Texas in July 2013. Before he became dean, Iverson was chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where he holds the Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Professorship. He has co-authored six editions of an organic chemistry textbook used at universities across the country. He is well known across campus for teaching an immensely popular undergraduate organic chemistry course, a task he continues to perform each spring.

For his Joynes Reading Room lecture, Dean Iverson will discuss the development of a new treatment for Anthrax, which he engineered with a team of researchers here at UT Austin. Anthrax is a disease that can be contracted from farm animals or from a deliberate chemical attack. (In 2001, 15 Americans contracted Anthrax after receiving deliberately contaminated letters or packages.) Inhalation Anthrax is difficult to treat and can be fatal. The work Iverson and his colleagues undertook is an example UT’s contributions to solving real-world problems through academic research.


Sarah Manguso
April 10, 7 p.m.

Sarah Manguso is an American writer and poet. In 2007, she was awarded the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship in literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her memoir The Two Kinds of Decay, was named an “Editors’ Choice” title by the New York Times Sunday Book Review and a 2008 "Best Nonfiction Book of the Year" by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her book Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (2015) was also named a New York Times “Editors’ Choice.”


Jeff VanderMeer
April 16, 7 p.m.

Jeff VanderMeer is an American author, editor, and literary critic. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. The trilogy's first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards and has been adapted into an upcoming Hollywood film by director Alex Garland. Among VanderMeer's other novels are Shriek: An Afterword and Borne.


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