News release
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Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 3/9/05
 
Ellen GilchristAngela JacksonClick on image for publication quality photo 

SOUTHEASTERN’S WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHTS AUTHORS ELLEN GILCHRIST, ANGELA JACKSON 
     HAMMOND – Two acclaimed writers – National Book Award-winning author Ellen Gilchrist and poet-playwright Angela Jackson  – will share and discuss their works during the third week of Southeastern Louisiana University’s celebration of March as Women’s History Month.
     Gilchrist, whose more that 20 books include the 1984 National Book Award winner “Victory Over Japan” and her latest collection of essays, “The Writing Life,” will present a reading and answer audience questions at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts.
     A book signing, sponsored by the area chapter of the American Association of University Women, follows the free presentation. Gilchrist also plans to conduct a writing workshop for Southeastern students and special guests the following morning.
     “We are so honored that Ellen Gilchrist accepted the Southeastern Women’s Coalition’s invitation to speak during Women's History Month,” said Women’s History Month coordinator Carole McAllister, a member of the Southeastern English Department faculty. “The ordinary becomes extraordinary in her fiction.”
     McAllister said the voices of Gilchrist’s female characters “resonate loud and strong and clear. They dance in tune with whatever life deals them. We find ourselves in these women, our good selves and our not so good selves. We learn what it means to celebrate womanhood.” 
     A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Gilchrist is the author of more than 20 books, including her newest work, "The Writing Life,” a collection of 50 short essays centered on the transforming magic of literature and the teaching and writing of it. 
     A member of the faculty at University of Arkansas, Gilchrist is currently serving as a writer in residence at Tulane University and has set many of her novels, short stories, and novellas in New Orleans and her native Mississippi. A diverse writer, she has been repeatedly praised by critics for her subtle perceptions, unique characters, sure command of the writer’s voice, and innovative plotlines. Her works also include “The Cabal and Other Stories,” “Flights of Angels,” “The Age of Miracles,” “The Courts of Love,” “In the Land of Dreamy Dreams,” “Drunk with Love, and “I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy.” 
     Jackson, winner of the 1994 Carl Sandburg Award for Poetry, will discuss her play, “Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love,” at 5 p.m., Thursday, March 17, in Fayard Hall, room 107.
     Also that day, Jackson will join the Women’s History Month lecture series in a joint presentation with Celina Echols, Southeastern associate professor of education. At 12:30 p.m. at Sims Memorial Library, the women will tell the story of their career journeys as African American women. Titled “Mississippi Magnolias: Celebrating the Journey,” the presentation will address issues of gender, race, and culture.
     Jackson was born in Greenville, Miss., but grew up in Chicago. As an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, she developed a reputation as a talented writer and became a member of Chicago’s Organization of Black American Culture Writers Workshop. She has published numerous collections of poetry and fiction, including “voodoo/Love Magi,” and “Dark Legs and Silk Kisses,” which was named one of the four best Chicago books in a competition sponsored by the Chicago Sun-Times.
     Her Women’s History Month presentations are sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence.
     Echols, a Columbia, Miss., native, serves on the board of directors for the National Association for Multi-Cultural Education. Her research focuses on cultural diversity and social equity, and she recently completed the manuscript, "Still I Rise: Strategies for Black Academician Survival."
     The Women’s History Month’s third week also includes an original play, “Lyzzi Strata,” by Southeastern theater instructor Selisa Hue. Scheduled for 7:30 p.m., March 15-16, at Vonnie Borden Theatre, the “battle of the sexes” comedy is based on Aristophanes’ classic play “Lysistrata” and is set in current day Las Vegas. 
     On Wednesday, March 16, the “Lyceum Lights” faculty luncheon at noon at Twelve Oaks will feature remarks on “Women Affecting Southeastern History” by three retired members of the Southeastern family: Patsy Causey, vice president for student affairs; Harriet Vogt, Fanfare director, and Sue Parrill, head of the English Department. The luncheon is sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence. For reservations, contact center@selu.edu, 985-549-5791.
     The Women’s History Month free lecture series, held on the library’s third floor, will continue with “Politics and the Power of Women with Purpose,” by Sheryl Shirley, associate professor of political science at Plymouth State University, at noon, Monday, March 14.
     At 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, Southeastern student Jeanne Northrop of Folsom will present “Living the Story, Telling the Story: Native American Women.” At noon on Friday, March 18, David Benac will speak on “Taking Charge: Women and the Historic Preservation Movement.” An assistant professor of history at Southeastern, Benac has created and oversees the university’s public history program and teaches courses in United States, public, and environmental history. 
     For additional information about Women’s History Month, contact 985-549-2100 or cmcallister@selu.edu. or visit www.selu.edu/whm05.