MONTGOMERY – An exhibit of the work of internationally known photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, which will open March 16 at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum, will kick off the University’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read events.
Barrayn will be on hand at 6 p.m. on March 16 to talk about the exhibit, “Her Word as Witness: Women Writers of the African Diaspora,” which will be on display in the museum’s Exhibit Hall through April 10 and in the Community Gallery from April 12-22. The event is free and open to the public.
The events, presented by Troy University Libraries, are made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest and are organized around the book, “Silver Sparrow,” by Tayari Jones. The NEA Big Read program is designed to broaden understanding of the world through communitywide programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.
“The Big Read grant is a tremendous opportunity for our Montgomery Campus, but also for all of the citizens of Montgomery,” said Dr. Christopher Shaffer, dean of library services at Troy University. “This grant provides all of us the opportunity to have the shared experience of reading and reflecting on a fascinating piece of literature
Published in 2011 by Algonquin Books, “Silver Sparrow” was chosen by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as an Honor Book and was nominated for both the NAACP Image Award and the 2013 Dublin International Literary Award.
Jones, an associate professor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Rutgers University, will visit the University’s Montgomery Campus to discuss her work on April 21. The event will be held in the Gold Room, located on the second floor of Whitley Hall, and will begin at 9 a.m. She also will discuss her book and sign copies of “Silver Sparrow” at the Alabama Book Festival in Old Alabama Town at 10 a.m. on April 22.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Jones now serves as an associate professor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Rutgers University, where she was awarded with a Board of Trustees Award for Scholarly Excellence, the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and a Leader in Faculty Diversity Award. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, researching her forthcoming novel, “Dear History.” She also has published the award-winning novels “Leaving Atlanta” (2002) and “The Untelling” (2005).
Several events are scheduled, leading up to Jones’ visit to Montgomery. TROY Libraries are partnering with Montgomery City-County Public Libraries to host discussions of the book.
The following lectures are also scheduled as a part of the University’s NEA Big Read events:
• April 4, 11:30 a.m. at Trenholm State Community College, “The Influence of History on our Everyday Lives,” by Dr. Felicia Bell, director of the Rosa Parks Museum;
• April 6, 6 p.m. at the Rosa Parks Museum Auditorium, “The Importance of Hair in Silver Sparrow,” by Cassie Rockette-Rogers, TROY English faculty member.; and,
• April 11, 6 p.m. at the Rosa Parks Museum Auditorium, “Family Relationships in Silver Sparrow,” by Dr. Kanessa Doss, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Sharon Everhardt, assistant professor of sociology.
In addition, Dr. Kosiba will host a screening of the film “The Color Purple,” at 6 p.m., April 17, in the Rosa Parks Museum Auditorium.
For additional information about Troy University’s NEA Big Read activities, contact Alyssa Martin at 334-241-8601 or visit TROY’s NEA Big Read.