“Hybrid Forms” of Storytelling Showcased In Columbia College’s Creative Nonfiction Week, Oct. 21-24

Renowned poet, writer and filmmaker Kwame Dawes to keynote; panels explore dynamic storytelling across genres 

Kwame Dawes Pic

Kwame Dawes, ©Rachel Eliza Griffiths

CHICAGO (Oct. 9, 2013) – Smashing traditional boundaries in creative writing and cultivating the intersections of genre are just some of the themes Columbia College Chicago’s Creative Nonfiction Week, titled “Hybrid Forms,” will explore Oct. 21 – 24, 2013. The event is co-hosted by Columbia College’s Department of Journalism and Department of Creative Writing.

Creative Nonfiction Week highlights the booming literary genre, which pairs techniques of fiction, poetry, film and other forms of storytelling with journalism’s commitment to facts. This year’s event includes artists blazing new paths in graphic/comics journalism, radio and live performance storytelling, and filmmaking.

The opening keynote features Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet, Kwame Dawes. He is the award-winning author of 19 poetry books and numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. Dawes’ most recent book of poetry, Duppy Conquerer (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), represents the first introduction to his full range of work in the U.S., including his pioneering development of the reggae aesthetic. Also drawing on the collective voice of the African diaspora, Dawes worked in close collaboration with the book’s editor, Matthew Shenoda, acclaimed Egyptian-American poet and interim chair, Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College.

In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy Award in the category of New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming. His project documented HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, interspersed with poetry, photography and music. The website, www.livehopelove.com, is the culmination of his project.

“Kwame Dawes’ work represents the range of creative nonfiction,” said Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, co-chair of Creative Nonfiction Week and associate professor of Journalism at Columbia College. “He and other participating speakers and panelists are exploring true storytelling in compelling, inspiring and sometimes groundbreaking ways.”

Additional highlights for Creative Nonfiction Week 2013 include: rising newcomers and Columbia College alumni Darryl Holliday and Erik Rodriguez of Chicago’s Illustrated Press, dubbed “Chicago’s pioneers of the comics journalism medium;” Martha Irvine, multimedia journalist and “storyteller” for the Associated Press, who will discuss working on multiple digital platforms; Megan Stielstra and Bobby Biedrzycki of Chicago’s acclaimed 2nd Story, who will give their take on live performances; and a panel on “Entrepreneurial Paths to Publication,” who will showcase the growing field of small press publishing; among others.

For more information on the event, please visit the “Hybrid Forms” Facebook Page.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for more than 10,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit www.colum.edu.

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Media contacts:
Cara Birch, cbirch@colum.edu, 312.369.8695
Steve Kauffman, skauffman@colum.edu, 312.369.7383