A brief overview of the 2013 festival

In April 2013 World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma’s award-winning magazine of international literature and culture, will welcome Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste, the 2013 Puterbaugh Fellow, as the visiting writer for the Puterbaugh Festival of International Literature & Culture (April 9-12, 2013). That same week, internationally renowned photographer Phil Borges will speak at the opening of the exhibition Stirring the Fire: A Global Movement to Empower Women and Girls at OU’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The week’s events will also include the Oklahoma premiere of the documentary film Girl Rising, which “uses the power of storytelling and the leverage of strategic partnerships to deliver the message that educating girls in developing nations will change the world” (10x10act.org), followed by a roundtable discussion on the topic of using art to promote social and political change sponsored by OU’s Women’s & Gender Studies program. Additional roundtable discussions and workshops devoted to photography and literature will round out the week. All events will be free and open to the public, and the museum opening on April 9 will coincide with the 2nd Friday Circuit of Art, a monthly performance event and walking tour of Norman’s art galleries.


About Maaza Mengiste

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and graduated with an MFA in creative writing from New York University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, BBC Radio 4, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International, to name a few. She is a Fulbright Scholar who has also received fellowships from the Emily Harvey Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Prague Summer Program, and Yaddo. She teaches at NYU and lives in New York City.

Mengiste’s debut novel, the critically acclaimed Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, has been translated into several languages and appeared on a number of “Best of 2010” lists, including Publishers Weekly, the Christian Science Monitor, and Barnes & Noble. She was a runner-up for the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize as well as a finalist for a Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, an NAACP Image Award, and an Indies Choice Book of the Year Award in Adult Debut.

The manuscript of Mengiste’s second novel, The Shadow King, is set during the early days of World War II. Told from both sides of the battle line, it is a story about Fascist Italy’s invasion and occupation of Ethiopia and the army of Ethiopian men and women who confront them.

Maaza Mengiste’s keynote speech will be Friday, April 12th at 10am in the Nancy O’Brian Center.

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