Spring Leadership Lecture Series Features Tommy Orange, Michael Ondaatje, Amy Tan
Pulitzer Prize finalist Tommy Orange, Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, and internationally acclaimed author Amy Tan will appear in person at Dominican University of California as part of the spring 2024 Leadership Lecture Series, presented by Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies in partnership with Book Passage.
Orange will discuss his new book, Wandering Stars, on March 1. Ondaatje will read from A Year of Last Things, his long-awaited return to poetry, on April 17. Tan will appear both in person and online to discuss The Backyard Bird Chronicles on April 23. All three lectures begin at 7 p.m. in Angelico Concert Hall. Free parking is available in the Conlan Center parking lot at the intersection of Grand and Acacia avenues.
In Wandering Stars, Orange traces the legacies of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School through three generations of a family in a story that is by turns shattering and wondrous. Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California. His first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award. He will be joined in conversation by Greg Sarris, Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. March 1, 7 p.m. Angelico Concert Hall. Tickets are $40 and include a copy of Wandering Stars.
Ondaatje will present A Year of Last Things, a poetry collection about memory, history, and the act of looking back. Moving from a Sri Lankan boarding school to Molièreʼs chair during his last stage performance, to Bulgarian churches and their icons, to the California coast and his beloved Canadian rivers, Ondaatje merges memory with the present. Ondaatje is the author of seven novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. His novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize in 1992 and became a major motion picture that won nine Academy Awards. Anil's Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. April 17, 7 p.m. Angelico Concert Hall. Tickets are $40 and include a copy of A Year of Last Things.
Tan will appear both in person and streaming online to present The Backyard Bird Chronicles, a reflection on birding, life and the natural world. Color illustrations by Tan appear throughout the book. She will be joined onstage by acclaimed birder, illustrator, and author Keith Hansen. The Backyard Bird Chronicles maps the passage of time through daily entries and original sketches. In 2016, Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world. In search of peace, she turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds visiting her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater—an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired. Tan is the author of The Joy Luck Club and seven other books and received the 2021 National Humanities Medal from President Biden in a ceremony at the White House. April 23, 7 p.m. Angelico Concert Hall. Tickets are $45 and include a copy of The Backyard Bird Chronicles.
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