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12-15-2014

Clarkson University Professor Speaks at Langston Hughes Festival

Clarkson University Professor of Humanities Owen Brady was invited to speak on author Walter Mosley's work at the Langston Hughes Festival at the City College of New York earlier this fall.
 
Clarkson University Professor of Humanities Owen Brady, left, shakes hands with author Walter Mosley at the Langston Hughes Festival at the City College of New York earlier this fall.CCNY awards the Langston Hughes Medal to highly distinguished writers from throughout the African-American diaspora for their impressive works of poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography and critical essays that celebrate the memory and tradition of Hughes. The medal is presented at the culmination of a day of salons, scholarly conferences and symposia on the legacy of Hughes.

As a leading Walter Mosley scholar, Brady was invited to participate in a symposium, "Walter Mosley Unbound and Unrestricted: A Master of Many Genres." His topic, "Walter Mosley as Homemaker: But He Ain't No Martha Stewart," addressed Mosley's contribution to American letters.

After spending much of the last 12 years reading and writing about Mosley and his work, Brady said he found it gratifying to have his scholarly efforts recognized at such a prestigious event.

"The invitation to participate as one of four distinguished panelists at the Mosley symposium was an honor," he said. "And, of course, it gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with Walter Mosley. It was also nice that he mentioned me by name in his speech at the Langston Hughes Medal award ceremony as his 'representative to the world.'"

Brady said while Mosley writes in many genres -- detective fiction, science fiction, drama and social essays -- one theme unifies his works: the quest to create a "space" he and his characters can call home even under the most difficult circumstances.

"The idea of home in his works may deal with domestic space, the American home and family at the center of what is called the 'American Dream' or with the idea of America as a homeland where justice is ensured equally for all," Brady said. "Because he most often writes about the African-American experience, the idea of home is complicated by a history of racial oppression."

Brady was a member of a distinguished panel including Manthia Diawara, professor of comparative literature and Africana studies at New York University; Tananarive Due, professor of creative writing at Antioch University of Los Angeles and author of 12 novels; and Victor LaValle, assistant professor and acting fiction director at Columbia University and author of several novels.

James Mercer Langston Hughes, 1902 to 1967, was a major American poet and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Known as a pioneer of blues and jazz poetry, Hughes modeled himself as a poet and activist and is celebrated around the world for his work. Previous winners of the Langston Hughes Medal include James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, August Wilson, Amiri Baraka, Wole Soyinka and Toni Morrison.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University Professor of Humanities Owen Brady, left, shakes hands with author Walter Mosley at the Langston Hughes Festival at the City College of New York earlier this fall.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/obrady-walter-mosley.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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