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Kwame Dawes Hosts Kofi Awoonor Memorial Reading

Poet Kwame Dawes will receive the 2013 Paul Engle Prize during his visit to the University of Iowa.
Poet Kwame Dawes will receive the 2013 Paul Engle Prize during his visit to the University of Iowa.

October 10th-14th, 2013 Poet, editor, playwright, professor, actor, and musician Kwame Dawes, winner of an Emmy and a Guggenheim and author of sixteen books of poetry, including an anthology of reggae poetry, will engage with the University of Iowa community as a 2013 Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. Born in Ghana and raised in exile in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, Dawes is a 1986 alumnus of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) Fall Residency. He is the Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska where he edits the literary magazine Prairie Schooner.

(Click to Enlarge) Ghanaian poet and writer Kofi Awoonor, whose poetry will be featured in a memorial reading on Monday.
(Click to Enlarge) Ghanaian poet and writer Kofi Awoonor, whose poetry will be featured in a memorial reading on Monday.

Dawes is also the cousin of celebrated Ghanaian poet and writer Kofi Awoonor, long-time friend of the IWP, who was among those killed in the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. On Monday, October 14th at 11am CDT, Dawes will host a live-stream memorial reading of Awoonor’s poetry in front of a live audience on the University of Iowa campus (430 Clinton St). Listeners around the world are encouraged to follow along and to submit questions via Twitter @UIIWP #Awoonor.

While in Iowa City, Dawes will also receive the 2013 Paul Engle Prize from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. Established in 2011, the award honors an individual who, like IWP co-founder Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature who has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

Some opportunities to catch Kwame in Iowa City:

 Kwame Dawes reading "The Weaver Bird" by Kofi Awoonor on the PBS NewsHour:

Dawes will also visit University of Iowa poetry and postcolonial studies classes and take part in a literary round-table and Q&A about literary journal publishing and literary festivals (Dawes co-founded the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica) with students at the Magid Undergraduate Writing Center.

 The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 with the income from a bequest to the university by the late Ida Cordelia Beam of Vinton, Iowa.

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