Hickory – The Lenoir-Rhyne University Visiting Writers Series is currently on its 32nd season and will host a variety of authors, poets, editors and more in both a virtual and in-person format for the academic year.LRU Speakers

All events, which take place on the LR campus in Hickory unless otherwise noted, are free, and the public is welcome to attend.
*Pre-registration is required for any virtual presentations.

Colm Tóibín and Patrick Radden Keefe
Thursday, March 18 to Friday, March 19, 2021, 7 p.m.
Belk Centrum

Award-winning Irish authors present at Lenoir-Rhyne

During the spring semester, Colm Tóibín and Patrick Radden Keefe will present in conjunction with the Southern Regional Chapter of the American Conference for Irish Studies.

An award-winning Irish writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, Tóibín is the author of nine novels, including “The Blackwater Lightship,” “The Master,” winner of The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and “Brooklyn,” winner of the Costa Book Award. Three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín uses themes such as the depiction of Irish society, living abroad, the process of creativity and the preservation of a personal identity. He is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and chancellor of Liverpool University.

Author of The New York Times best-seller “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland,” Keefe has also authored “The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream” and “Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping.” His work has included investigative narrative nonfiction on a range of subjects, from the hunt for the drug lord Chapo Guzman to the tragic personal history of the mass shooter Amy Bishop and the role that the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma played in sparking the opioid crisis. He received the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing in 2014, and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016.

Jeanine Cummins
Thursday, March 25, 2021, 7 p.m.
Belk Centrum

Author addresses injustice in award-winning fiction

The author of four novels, including the groundbreaking memoir “A Rip in Heaven” and the award-winning novel “The Outside Boy,” Jeanine Cummins tackles injustice through her fiction work.

Her most recent work published in February 2020, “American Dirt,” follows the poignant story of a mother and son forced to flee their middle-class home in Mexico for the north, the only place they may be safe. Cummins speaks about her extensive research throughout both sides of the borderlands and the real conditions on the ground that migrants are facing, and voices why they are undertaking such a perilous journey to America.

Born on a United States naval base in Rota, Spain, Cummins spent most of her childhood in Gaithersburg, Maryland. When she was 16, her family experienced a horrific violent crime: the double-homicide of her two cousins by four strangers. Her brother was the only surviving victim of the attack. The crime and the impact it had on her family became the subject of her best-selling 2004 memoir “A Rip in Heaven.” After that publication, Cummins began speaking publicly about victims’ rights, and specifically about her family’s experiences with the criminal justice system. She is a death penalty opponent and can speak to the ways death row further persecutes victims of violent crime.

Cummins has addressed college, high school and middle school students about topics from writing to victimology, to turning trauma into art. She’s spoken to first responders about best practices when dealing with victims of violent crime and trauma. She has also visited prisons where she spoke with inmates about using art or stories as a way to take ownership over trauma.

For more information, visit lr.edu/VWS or call the LR Box Office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 828.328.7206.
Photo: Colm Tóibín and Patrick Radden Keefe