John Edgar Wideman
John Edgar Wideman’s life is as dramatic as any of his brooding, Faulknerian novels. Born in Washington DC, he grew up in Homewood, an impoverished African American community in Pittsburgh that is the setting of one of his best-known works, The Homewood Trilogy. Brilliant in both the classroom and the basketball court, he was the…
John Edgar Wideman’s life is as dramatic as any of his brooding, Faulknerian novels. Born in Washington DC, he grew up in Homewood, an impoverished African American community in Pittsburgh that is the setting of one of his best-known works, The Homewood Trilogy.
Brilliant in both the classroom and the basketball court, he was the subject of a 1963 Look magazine article titled “The Astonishing John Wideman.” He went on to become the second black American to win a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a master’s degree in literature in 1966.
After writing several novels, he began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, helping found the school’s Afro-American studies department. And, although he graduated from an Ivy League school, became a Rhodes Scholar, taught at fine universities and became the only American writer to twice win the PEN/Faulkner Prize, Wideman he has concerned with the violence, drug use, and institutionalized poverty that afflict the African-American community.
As a boy, he planned to leave his background behind for a dazzling future as a novelist, academic and intellectual, but in spite of personal success, Wideman came to see the complex problems of African-American life as inescapable.
During the past two decades he has written three memoirs about events that have indelibly marked him — the life imprisonment of his younger brother Robby in Brothers and Keepers and the life imprisonment of his son, Jacob, in Fatheralong. His latest critically-acclaimed collection of short fiction, God’s Gym, was released in 2005.
The Rea Award Jurors cited Wideman’s work as, “Profoundly honest, eloquently impassioned, the stories of John Edgar Wideman guide us to a place we’ve never been, into that unexplored area of America’s Heartland for which we’ve had no true compass before his own. More than compassionate, Wideman’s stories are like gospel songs sung by a hundred voices, offering praise to life itself.”
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Great Literature with a Relevant Vibe
Brothers and Keepers
Legacies of Slavery in American Life
Real change is always violent…
An Evening with John Edgar Wideman
Legacies of Slavery in American Life - John Edgar Wideman
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