April 24, 2007

Maya Angelou to speak at SIUC on May 2

by Christi Mathis


Maya Angelou

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The woman hailed as one of America's most well-known contemporary writers, civil rights activists and stirring public speakers will bring her inspiring words to Southern Illinois University Carbondale next month.

The Student Programming Council/Lectures invites the public to spend an evening with acclaimed writer and Renaissance woman Maya Angelou on Wednesday, May 2, in the Student Center Ballrooms. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and she'll speak at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free but there are no reserved seats, so organizers recommend early arrival.

Angelou authored a dozen best-selling books, including the acclaimed autobiographical "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and the current bestseller, "A Song Flung Up to Heaven." A presidential inauguration poet, actress and activist, Angelou's lectures emphasize the value of ethnic, economic and religious diversity.


Media Advisory

Reporters and camera crews are welcome to cover the presentation. There will not be risers or a special seating area for the media, so those planning to cover the event should come early. Television crews may only film during the first five minutes of Maya Angelou's lecture.


"We feel very lucky to have Dr. Angelou come to our campus to share her life and experiences," said Alexis Allen, of Sullivan, director of the SPCL and a business and administration graduate student. "When we first looked into bringing Maya Angelou to campus, the students we talked to seemed very excited about the opportunity to hear her speak. We know that she has spoken at many other colleges and her appearances have always been well-received."

Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in 1928 in St. Louis and attended public school in Stamps, Ark., and San Francisco, Calif. She's fluent in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti, and is the recipient of honorary degrees from dozens of prestigious universities across the county.

She's won numerous awards, including the Ladies' Home Journal Award for Woman of the Year in Communication in 1976 and "Top 100 Most Influential Women" in 1983, a Tony Award in 1973, The North Carolina Award in Literature and Distinguished Woman of North Carolina, Horatio Alger Award, Essence Woman of the Year, Frank G. Wells Award, Grammy, Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, Writer's Digest designation as one of the "top 100 best writers of the 20th Century" and Mother Teresa Award in 2006 for service to humanity.

Her list of awards, nominations and honors is quite lengthy. As a poet, author and playwright, she's penned works that have not only been topped the bestseller lists, but have shaped public thinking. She is the author of acclaimed children's books as well as adult novels, poems and screenplays and she's made numerous television appearances.

Videotaping or recording of Angelou's presentation is prohibited.

Sponsorship for Angelou's visit include the Student Activity Fee through the Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate Professional Student Council; the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; the Fine Arts Activity Fee; the Black Affairs Council; and the Student Programming Council. For more information check online at www.spc4fun.com or call 618/536-3393.