Not another dead writer

Oftentimes, classic authors covered in an English course are dead and gone, which could leave the impression that good writing is a thing of the past. The Literary Lecture Series at Santa Monica College gives students the opportunity to learn otherwise. Together with the SMC Associates and the SMC English Department, the series offers an opportunity to meet with a myriad of accomplished writers of diverse backgrounds.

“Sometimes students may be under the false impression that all writers are dead, but writers are very much alive,” says Hari Vishwanadha, the SMC English professor who decided to bring the lecture series to campus on a regular basis about ten years ago.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, Louise Steinman, co-director of USC’s Los Angeles Institute for Humanities and longtime curator of the award-winning ALOUD literary series for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, will speak to SMC students.

The second of four speakers in this literary series, Steinman understands the importance of events like this. As the curator of ALOUD, Steinman has provided the people of Los Angeles with over 1,000 lectures, readings, and conversations featuring key figures in the arts, humanities, business, politics, and sciences since the reopening of the Central Library in 1993.

In an email to the Corsair, Steinman, the author of the award-winning memoir “The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War,” shares her passion for the written word.

“I don't know that I made a decision to pursue writing professionally. I decided there were books I needed to write, I felt them, they formed in my mind, I had questions I wanted to answer.”

Steinman continued by saying, “If writing is in your blood and bones, you're going to write. I write because it's how I stay alive.”

Professor Vishwanadha hopes that students can learn tips for their own future careers, and encourages them to participate in the Q-and-A segments following each speaker.

Together with the SMC Associates, a community-based support group whose yearly memberships of $100 and more help to finance events like the Literary Lecture Series, SMC hopes to stimulate student excellence.

Judy Neveau, Director of Community Relations at Santa Monica College’s Office of Public Programs, says, “By bringing outstanding professionals in a variety of different fields to the campus, students who would otherwise not have the opportunity get a chance to see and listen to researchers, speakers, and professionals, can become more aware of the world around them.

“It helps them to think outside of the box,” adds Neveau.

SMC Associates helped to bring prestigious speakers like Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., and Dr. George A. Olah, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1994, to Santa Monica College in the past.

The Literary Lecture Series will continue on Nov. 8 with guest speaker Margaret Wertheim, an internationally noted science writer whose work focuses on relationships between science and the wider cultural landscape. The series will end on Dec. 6 with award-winning USC creative writing instructor Aimee Bender, whose works have been published and translated into 16 languages.

Open to the public • Free Admission • 11:15 a.m. • HSS 165

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