POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Writer, photographer, and art historian Teju Cole will read from and discuss his internationally acclaimed 2011 novel Open City on Thursday, February 28, at 6:30pm in the Sanders Classroom Building Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). This event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by the English Department and the Carolyn Fay Grant '36 Endowment.
Open City is the story of a young Nigerian-German psychiatrist in New York City five years after 9/11, and it won Cole the prestigious PEN/Hemingway Award for a debut work of fiction. The book was hailed by Time magazine as, “A powerful and unnerving inquiry into the human soul. Cole has earned flattering comparisons to literary heavyweights like J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald and Henry James, but Open City merits higher praise: it’s a profoundly original work, intellectually stimulating and possessing of a style both engaging and seductive.”
Open City was also awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the New York City Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, and the Ondaatje Prize from the Royal Society of Literature. It was named one of the best books of 2011 by Time magazine, the New Yorker, Newsweek, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and many others.
Cole was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, and raised in Nigeria. He teaches literature and art history at Bard College, where he is Distinguished Writer in Residence and Chinua Achebe Fellow. Cole is also the author of a novella with photographs published in Nigeria, Every Day Is for the Thief (2007), and is a contributor to many leading journals and magazines, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, Qarrtsiluni, The Atlantic, Granta, Aperture, Transition, and A Public Space. He is currently at work on a nonfiction book about Lagos, the former Nigerian capital and the country's largest city.
His photo exhibit “Who’s Got the Address?” will open at Ithaca College’s Handwerker Gallery in April. “The great street photographers, from Atget onwards, inspire me,” Cole has written. “When I go out shooting, I’m interested in catching or in being caught by the unexpected, in ‘organizing the rectangle’ as Sergio Larrain put it.”
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