The best-selling author of “GraceLand” will speak Tuesday at Kansas University.
Chris Abani will speak on “Stories of Struggle, Stories of Hope: Art, Politics and Human Rights,” at 7:30 p.m. at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union.
The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of the 2009-2010 Humanities Lecture Series sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities.
Abani also will lead a conversation at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Hall Center conference hall.
Abani was imprisoned by the Nigerian government as a teenager for his first novel and was tortured and placed on death row for subsequent work critical of the government.
Abani is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN Freedom-to-Write Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship and many other prizes. His best-selling novel, “GraceLand,” about an Elvis impersonator in Lagos, won the Hemingway/ PEN Prize. His other works of fiction include “The Virgin of Flames,” “Becoming Abigail” and the award-winning “Song For Night,” about a child soldier who has lost his voice.
Abani is the author of five poetry collections and a saxophonist. He received a doctorate in literature and creative writing from the University of California-Los Angeles and is a professor in the department of creative writing at the University of California-Riverside, where he was hired as a tenured associate professor even before he completed his doctorate.