Curdella Forbes to share her works during visit to Penn State York Sept. 28

African American woman with short hair standing in front of a fountain of water and lily pads..

Novelist Curdella Forbes will read from her work during a presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Precision Custom Components (PCC) Community Room in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center (The Ruhl Center) at Penn State York.

Credit: Kezia Page

YORK, Pa. — Novelist Curdella Forbes, professor of English at Howard University, will read from her works during a visit to Penn State York at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the Precision Custom Components (PCC) Community Room at Penn State York. Following the reading, she will answer questions from the audience. The presentation is free and open to the public.

“Curdella Forbes writes books that traverse the edges of reality and myth, of fantasy and science fiction. Her style is both evocative and prophetic,” said Jennifer Nesbitt, professor of English at Penn State York, author, and organizer of the event. “She draws on a tradition of character study honed by such writers as C. L. R. James, Paule Marshall, and Edwidge Danticat to create compelling portraits of suffering, celebrating human beings.”

Nesbitt notes that in other works such as her novels, “Ghosts” and “A Tall History of Sugar,” Forbes haunts contemporary scenes with the damage wrought by the past and provocative visions of the future. Her work engages with that of science fiction greats Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson, as well as speculative writers like Michelle Cliff.  Her novel, “A Tall History of Sugar” (2019), won the 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction

In addition to the public presentation, Forbes will also speak to Nesbitt’s Introduction to the Caribbean class at 1:35 p.m. Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York, a group of adults aged 50 and older who never want to stop learning, have been invited to attend both the Forbes’ public presentation and the class. This intergenerational opportunity will allow younger readers to hear from experienced readers and have a discussion.

Nesbitt has invited OLLI members to attend four “book club” classes that feature fiction by writers from the Caribbean and those who are part of the Caribbean diaspora. Undergraduate students have already met once (Sept. 7) with members of OLLI and have opportunities for discussion on Sept. 28, Oct. 19, and Nov. 9.

About Curdella Forbes

Forbes taught at the University of the West Indies, Mona, before taking a position at Howard University in 2004. Her research interests include postcolonial theory; Caribbean poetics; Shakespeare and postcolonialism; Caribbean literature and culture with particular focus on issues of gender, performance, and orality; and the (postcolonial) issues of diaspora and globalization. She earned her doctorate in 2000 from the University of the West Indies.

Her short stories have appeared in journals and edited collections. She has presented scholarly papers at conferences in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Austria, Canada, and here in the United States. She was an editor for the online peer reviewed journal Postcolonial Text, is book review editor for The Journal of West Indian Literature, and a member of the advisory board for Anthurium, an online peer-reviewed journal of original Caribbean works and critical studies of Caribbean literature, film, art, and culture. She serves as peer reviewer for many refereed journals, including Social and Economic Studies and Caribbean Quarterly. Forbes is also a curriculum developer. She has served and continues to serve on panels and examining committees for the Caribbean Examinations Council, the regional examining body in the Caribbean.

Forbes has been involved in planning various symposia and conferences, including the conference on George Lamming ("The Sovereignty of the Imagination"), which took place at Mona, Jamaica, in June 2003 and the Walter Rodney 25th Anniversary Conference which took place at Howard University in September 2005.

Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Through the Lens of Gender:  A Revisionary Reading of the Novels of Samuel Selvon and George Lamming.”  She is the author of “From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon,”(2005) George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender” (2005), three works of fiction: “A Permanent Freedom” (2008), “Flying with Icarus and Other Stories” (2003) and “Songs of Silence” (2002). Her scholarly articles appear in Literature and Psychology: A Journal of Psychoanalytic and Cultural Criticism, Journal of West Indian Literature, Small Axe, Aspekt (a Slovak feminist periodical), Anthurium, Postcolonial Text, and Caribbean Quarterly.

“We at Penn State York are fortunate to bring Dr. Forbes’ creative vision and scholarly insights to share with students, our campus community, and OLLI members,” Nesbitt said.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee at Penn State York is providing refreshments for the program.

Forbes’ visit to Penn State York is sponsored by the Penn State Office of General Education, the Penn State York Arts and Liberal Studies Unit, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York, the Penn State York Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, and the Penn State York Office of Academic Affairs.