National book award finalist Danez Smith visits Pfeiffer University Oct. 23

Danez Smith
Student Life

Pfeiffer University will host National Book Award Finalist Danez Smith for a reading in the Henry Pfeiffer Chapel October 23rd at 7:00 p.m. The event, which is sponsored by the Piedmont Institute for Communication, Music and Art and Pfeiffer’s English Department, is free and open to the public.

A book signing will follow Smith’s performance, and the university will have copies of the author’s latest release, “Don’t Call Us Dead,” as well as the 2015 collection “Black Movie” for sale. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.

Smith, a black, queer American poet, writes about personal topics, such as love and loss, as well as HIV, and broader issues including sexuality, violence and race. Winner of a multitude of awards, such as the 2017 National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, Smith’s engaging work blends the performance of slam poetry with the craft of prose. Compelling and incendiary, Smith’s latest book, “Don’t Call Us Dead,” is one of this year’s most important releases.

“The work of Danez Smith reflects a turbulent environment worthy of thought and discussion, and Pfeiffer University is eager to welcome this conversation,” said Dr. Marissa Schwalm, Assistant Professor of English and Faculty Advisor for Pfeiffer’s literary magazine, The Phoenix.

“Our English Department is delighted to welcome to campus such an esteemed poet as Danez Smith,” added Dr. Ashley Oliphant, Pfeiffer’s Humanities Chair. “It is especially exciting that our English majors and The Phoenix staff members will have the unique opportunity to share a meal and speak one-on-one with the author before the campus presentation begins. Meaningful moments like these bring the fine arts to life for our students and demonstrate for them the value of creativity and intellectual curiosity. October 23rd is going to be a thrilling night for the Humanities at Pfeiffer.”

Large groups are welcome at the event, and bus parking will be available, though groups of more than 25 are asked to notify the university about their attendance. Any questions should be forwarded to Schwalm at [email protected].