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Andrea Ciccarelli
College Arts and Humanities Institute

Last modified: Monday, September 26, 2011

Author Alexandra Fuller to read work at IU as guest of College Arts and Humanities Institute

Sept. 26, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Acclaimed African-born author Alexandra Fuller will present a public reading at Indiana University Bloomington Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Rawles Hall 100.

Alexandra Fuller

Photo by Ian Murphy

Alexandra Fuller

Fuller is the fall 2011 guest speaker for the "Cultural Conflicts" lecture series hosted by the IU College Arts and Humanities Institute. Inaugurated in 2002, the lecture series has brought to IU literature Nobel Prize winners Seamus Heaney and JM Coetzee, as well as many best-selling writers, including Alexander McCall Smith and Michael Chabon.

Fuller's debut book, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Random House, 2001), was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense Best Non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.

In her recently released novel, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood -- encapsulating both the boiled-cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood and the darker, civil war-torn Africa of her own childhood. At its heart, this is the story of Fuller's mother, Nicola. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola holds dear the kinds of values mostly likely to get a person hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. Fuller interviewed her mother at length and has captured her inimitable voice with remarkable precision.

Her other books include Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (Penguin Press, 2004), which won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage. Fuller has also written extensively for magazines and newspapers including The New Yorker and National Geographic magazine. She has contributed the essay on Wyoming in the 2008 book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is a prequel/sequel to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight.

During her visit, Fuller will also offer a seminar to a group of undergraduate and graduate students.

The College Arts and Humanities Institute provides a forum for creative and research activities for faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, and sponsors events and lecture series related to topics of multidisciplinary interest. For more information about the institute, see