Writers Weekend to feature author Rebecca Skloot, actress Karyn Parsons

The Creative Writing Program at Augusta University will celebrate African American stories and writers during its 2018 Writers Weekend conference in February.

Now in its sixth consecutive year, Writers Weekend features award-winning authors and teachers who discuss elements of craft and share their original creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

This year’s keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Featured presenters include actress Karyn Parsons, and poets and writers George Ella Lyon, Tony Grooms, Sean Hill, and Ashley M. Jones. Local authors Tonya Marie Agerton, Tom Robertson, and Bob Young will also speak at the event.

The keynote event takes place at Augusta University’s Lee Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, and features a moderated conversation and Q & A session, followed by a reception and book signing.

The next day, local schools will host Karyn Parsons, actress and founder of Sweet Blackberry, whose mission is to share stories of African American achievement with children.

The remaining events—a series of craft talks, readings, and book signings—will take place on Saturday, Feb. 10, in University Hall on Augusta University’s Summerville Campus.

This year’s conference honors the late Dr. Marya DuBose Free. A Professor of English and an Associate Chair of the former Department of Languages, Literature, and Communications at Augusta University, she was a champion for children’s literature.

These events are being organized by Anna Harris-Parker, an assistant professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Augusta University. For more information regarding these events, visit literaryaugusta.com or contact Harris-Parker at 706-729-2508 or aharrisparker@augusta.edu.

The Cinema Series at Augusta University to Honor the Life and Legacy of Henrietta Lacks 

The Cinema Series at Augusta University will honor the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks with two special screenings in January.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, an Emmy-nominated film starring Oprah Winfrey and based on the award-winning book by Rebecca Skloot, will be screened on Wednesday, Jan. 17.  The screenings are free and scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre.

Arguably one of the most important women in medical history, Lacks changed medical research in 1951 when her cells were taken from her cervical cancer biopsy without her knowledge or approval. These cells, known as “HeLa” cells, were the first to be medically reproduced and are still widely used in medical research today.

In February, Augusta University, in collaboration with Paine College and the Columbia County Library, will host Skloot and members of the Lacks Family for several events around the CSRA.

The first event takes place at the Columbia County Library at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, featuring a moderated conversation and Q & A session, followed by a reception and book signing.

The next day, Paine College will host the Lacks family for a meet and greet at Candler Library at 11 a.m., with lunch being served on a “first come, first served” basis.

The final event will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Lee Auditorium on the AU Health Sciences Campus, featuring a moderated conversation and Q & A session, followed by a reception and book signing.

These events are being organized by Jim Minick and Anna Harris-Parker, both assistant professors in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Augusta University.

For more information regarding these events, Jim Minick can be reached at (706) 737-1500 or jminick@augusta.edu, or contact the Columbia County Library at (706) 863-1946.

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