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February 1, 2007

A personal journey: Charles Johnson to speak tonight

Charles Johnson, the S. Wilson and Grace Pollock Professor of English at the UW, will speak at 7 p.m. today, Thursday, Feb. 1, in 120 Kane. The title of his lecture will be “Whole Sight: The Intersection of Culture, Faith and the Imagination.”


From his creative beginnings as a political cartoonist and journalist to his success as a novelist, essayist, short story writer, screen- and teleplay writer, and university professor, Charles Johnson’s life is a model of interdisciplinarity. In his talk Johnson will address his personal journey in finding his passion as an artist, a writer, and a scholar. Johnson will discuss how various interrelated factors such as race, culture, faith, and history converged to shape his work.


Johnson who also is the 2006-2007 Solomon Katz Distinguished Lecturer in the Humanities, is a literary critic, screenwriter, philosopher and cartoonist. He is the author of Middle Passage (1990), winner of the 1990 National Book Award, and the co-author with Patricia Smith of Africans in America: America’s Journey through Slavery (1998), the companion book for the 1998 PBS series. Johnson was a 1998 MacArthur Fellow and the 2002 recipient of the Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has published collections of short fiction, screenplays, critical essays on literature and Buddhism, and has written numerous articles on writing, education, and other contemporary issues. His lecture is sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities.