Issues of race and social justice to be explored in literary event
Lucinda Roy, an Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, will give a reading from her latest book, “The Freedom Race,” on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Fife Theatre of the Moss Arts Center. Bessie Flores Zaldívar, a student in Virginia Tech’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, will join her professor on stage, where she will read from her new fiction chapbook, “Rain Revolutions.”
As part of their “Freedom Revolutions” program, the authors will discuss issues of race and social justice. The event, which is free and open to the public, will also be livestreamed.
Roy, an award-winning novelist, poet, and memoirist, is the author of seven books. She is currently working on The Dreambird Chronicles, a speculative slave narrative trilogy. “The Freedom Race,” the first book in the series, was published by Tor/Macmillan in July. “Flying the Coop,” the second book, will be published next July.
In writing about “The Freedom Race,” Nikki Giovanni, a University Distinguished Professor in the Virginia Tech Department of English, noted that the novel “makes you wonder whether you are reading or dreaming. And you’re not sure it matters which.”
Among Roy’s literary awards are the Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award, and a Discover Great New Writers selection from Barnes and Noble. In 2000, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Richmond.
A writer and poet from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Zaldívar set the stories in “Rain Revolutions” against Honduran political and environmental turmoil spanning more than half a century. Published by Long Day Press in September, the work was called “a minor miracle” by bestselling author Matthew Salesses, who added, “Watch out for Zaldívar; I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Zaldívar’s work has appeared on Poets.org and in CRAFT, Foglifter, [PANK], and other literary publications. She was selected for the 2020 edition of the “Best of the Net” anthology and has been nominated for the annual anthology “Best New Poets.”
“We thought a joint event with a faculty member and a graduate student would be a great way to highlight the collaborative approach our program takes,” said Carmen Giménez Smith, the English professor who directs the M.F.A. program in creative writing. “We also wanted the event to be a celebration of the diverse and groundbreaking voices in our program.”
The event is sponsored by the M.F.A. program in creative writing and the Department of English. A book signing and reception will follow the readings and discussion.