September 27, 2018
On Campus

On the Writing Life

Hillary Jordan to Present the Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture

The 2018-2019 Wittenberg Series will continue with the annual Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, featuring novelist Hillary Jordan presenting “On the Writing Life” in Bayley Auditorium of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center.

Raised in Texas and Oklahoma, Jordan is the author of the international bestseller Mudbound, which was selected as the winner of the 2006 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, an award established by Barbara Kingsolver to promote socially engaged fiction.

Described by Barnes & Noble as a “powerful firestorm of a first novel,” Mudbound explores themes of racial inequality, poverty, and violence in America as told through the personal narratives of two Southern families, one black and one white, in the years following World War II. In an online BookLoons review of the novel, Tim Davis calls Jordan a “wonderful new voice in southern American literature – reminiscent of the best of William Faulkner and Eudora Welty.”

In 2017, a critically acclaimed film adaptation of Mudbound directed by Dee Rees and starring Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, and Garrett Hedlund debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film garnered four Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Song.

Translated into 15 languages, Mudbound was named the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Fiction Book of the Year in 2008 and one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade by Paste Magazine. The novel also won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2008 and was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Also longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award was Jordan’s second novel, When She Woke (Algonquin Books, 2011). The dystopian novel was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist.

The author of the digital short Aftermirth, Jordan spent 15 years working as an advertising copywriter before turning to writing fiction, poetry, and essays. Her work has appeared in Outside magazine, the Huffington Post, Scoundrel Time, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She often speaks at colleges, literary festivals, and libraries, and occasionally teaches writing workshops.

She earned a B.A. in English and political science from Wellesley College and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she is currently working on a sequel to Mudbound.

While on Wittenberg's campus, Jordan will participate in a colloquium with faculty and students at 4:30 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium.

Now in its 36th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each lecture or performance. Below are further details related to this year’s Series.

2018-2019 Wittenberg Series Events:

  • Monday, Oct. 22: Kenneth H. Sauer Luther Symposium, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium featuring Ronald Rittgers, author and theologian. Q&A, 3:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel.
  • Thursday, Oct. 25: Dance concert featuring Catapult, presenting an evening of shadow dance and theatre works, 7:30 p.m., John Legend Theater at The Dome, 700 S. Limestone St., Springfield.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28: Festival Choral Eucharist for Reformation Service, 7:30 p.m. in Weaver Chapel (music begins at 7 p.m.), featuring The Rev. Dr. Craig Alan Satterlee, Bishop of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7: Fred R. Leventhal Family Lecture, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel featuring Seth M. Siegel, New York Times best-selling author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution to a Water-Starved World. Q & A, 4 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
  • Friday, Dec. 7: Lessons and Carols, 7:30 p.m. (pre-service music begins at 7 p.m.), Weaver Chapel.
  • Monday, Jan. 21, 2019: Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, 11:15 a.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Adam Foss, criminal justice reform advocate. Q & A, 2:45 p.m., 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019: Vocal concert featuring South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019: William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Fenn on “Sacagawea’s Capture and the History of the Early West.”
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium, featuring John Dovidio, author, Yale psychology professor, and leading researcher on aversive racism. Colloquium, 4 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.

For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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