at SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE
NOV. 2-8, 2011
Journalist, novelist, and humanitarian activist Masha Hamilton is a compelling role model for young women in today’s global world. Founder of two non-profit organizations and author of several award-winning novels and works of journalism, Hamilton was named the 2010 winner of the Women’s National Book Association Award, which has been given continuously since 1940 to honor a woman writer who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession.
A former foreign correspondent, Hamilton worked for the Associated Press in the Middle East and for the Los Angeles Times and NBC/Mutual Radio, reporting from the Soviet Union during its final years. She has written several award winning novels, including The Camel Bookmobile, about a traveling library in Africa that brings precious books to villagers, and 31 Hours, chosen by The Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2009.
In 2007, Hamilton launched the nonprofit organization The Camel Book Drive, which supplies books through a camel-borne lending library to remote rural villages in northeastern Kenya. In 2009, Hamilton established the Afghan Women’s Writing Project to foster creative and intellectual exchange between Afghan women writers and American women authors and teachers. The website publishes the work of Afghan writers under the mentorship of authors, poets, essayists, memoirists, and journalists.
Hamilton’s career is an inspiring example of a woman who is a courageous traveler and adventurer, a thoughtful observer and eloquent chronicler of human experience, and an enterprising advocate for human rights, especially the rights of women. Her work — especially the Afghan Women’s Writing Project — is also an example of the important links that exist today between technology, literature, journalism, politics, nonprofit development, and humanitarian achievement.
Hamilton’s experience touches a number of academic disciplines — creative writing, international politics, anthropology, business — and it fits beautifully with both the theme for the Honors program and with the curriculum for the College’s first-year common reading seminar program, SBC y:1.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11; the upcoming SBC y:1 program will be built around Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization by Reza Aslan, as well as several complementary texts. Using the different perspectives of literature, science, philosophy, and history, students in the y:1 program will consider how the world has changed since 9/11 and what those changes mean for our experience today in a global community.
The theme for the College’s Honors program is “Testing Tolerance.” Honors seminars addressing the topic include an anthropology course, “Gender and Globalization,” which explores how gender and sexuality are imagined and experienced in today’s global political economy; “Sacraments and Civil Unions: The History of Marriage,” which charts the varieties of marriage in western history from sibling-marriages of Egyptian pharaohs, to Christian sacramental marriage in the Middle Ages, to the current legal and ethical debate over same sex marriages; and “Crafting People: Eugenics in America,” which explores the history of ideas about breeding people for particular traits and assesses the implications of human engineering.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wednesday, November 2
Presentation and Q &A with y:1 students and faculty
Wailes Lounge, Florence Elston Conference Center
Lecture & slideshow presentation
Free and Open to the Public
Thursday, November 3
Q&A with SBC Salt Block business students
(Discussion of entrepreneurial non-profit business management and their work for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project)
Friday, November 4
Murchison Lane Auditorium, Babcock Fine Arts Center
“Out of Silence” A dramatic reading of work by Afghan women performed by SBC theatre students.
The performance will be followed by a reception in the lobby of the Babcock Fine Arts Center
Free and Open to the Public
Monday, November 7
Pannell Art Gallery
Reading and Q & A with Red Clay literary magazine staff and creative writing students.
Tuesday, November 8
3 :00 p.m.
ENGL 334 Fiction Workshop: Research and the Fiction Writer.