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BREAKING NEWS: Novelist/poet Chris Abani to replace Natasha Trethewey for Governor’s Lecture

Award-winning writer, screenwriter and TED speaker Chris Abani will deliver the 19th annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, September 10, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln. He will replace Natasha Trethewey, who is unable to give the lecture due to a death in her family.
Presented by Humanities Nebraska (HN) and co-sponsored by the E.N. Thompson Forum and the University of Nebraska, the lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be the first in the 2014-15 E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues series, “The Creative World.”
Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, Abani is well known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb.
Abani is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award for “Graceland,” and the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, among many honors. His degrees include an MA in English, Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has resided in the United States since 2001.

Abani’s fiction includes “The Secret History of Las Vegas” (Penguin 2014), “Song For Night” (Akashic, 2007), and “The Virgin of Flames” (Penguin, 2007), among other titles. He is also a poet, having published “Sanctificum” (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), “There Are No Names for Red” (Red Hen Press, 2010), “Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems” (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), “Hands Washing Water” (Copper Canyon, 2006), and other titles.

Poet Kwame Dawes, who will moderate questions from the audience immediately following Abani’s Governor’s Lecture, has noted that, “Abani’s line has a sharp precision that turns a scream into a line of memorable lyric music without losing the emotion and force.”

HN Executive Director Chris Sommerich said, “Our hearts go out to Natasha Trethewey at her time of loss. We are very appreciative of Chris Abani’s willingness to come to Nebraska on short notice and inspire us with his thoughts on ‘The Creative World.’”

Chris Abani’s lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required to reserve seating. Call the Lied Center Box Office for tickets at 402.472.47474. For further information about the 19th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities, contact Humanities Nebraska at 402.474.2131 or

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.