Among the presenters at this years Virginia Hamilton

Cecil Giltz Published:

Among the presenters at this years Virginia Hamilton Conference will be Felix Offodile of Kent State University.

Now in its 19th year, the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth, serves as a forum for multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults.

Offodiles workshop is The West African Storytelling Culture: A Paradigm for Lifelong Learning.

Through his workshop, Offodile will lead a discussion of the general tenets of the West African culture, the role of storytelling in it and how the storyteller uses his art for advancing acceptable social norms. Offodile plans to include sample storytelling sessions, audience participation, call and response, gestures, mimicry, animal noises and voices.

His love of storytelling and a desire of preserving his West African culture prompted Offodile to write the The Orphan Girl. Offodile has since become a recognized folk storyteller at local libraries, schools and ethnic festivals in the region.

The stories represent a tradition that is almost lost to us to Africans and non-Africans alike. These stories from my childhood were told by moonlight by the elders. These stories were shared orally and handed down from generation to generation and as such most of them were not written down, Offodile said.

Also among the KSU family making a presentation is Carolyn S. Brodie, associate professor of library and information science. With her program entitled, OH OH OHIO!, Brodie will connect to a selection of childrens and young adult fiction, information and reference books, Web sites, audiovisual materials and resources to learn more about the celebration of Ohios bicentennial.

Virginia Hamilton died Feb. 19, 2002. The members of the Virginia Hamilton Conference Advisory Board described her death as the loss of this strong and courageous voice. How true. She received nearly every major award and honor in her field Hamilton was one of todays most distinguished writers for children and young adults.

Entertainment Weekly called her a majestic presence in childrens literature. Along with her husband and fellow author, Arnold Adoff, Hamilton was a familiar presence at her namesakes conference. Often she would read a passage from her books. Her keen sense of literary style and reading held the audience spellbound. How lucky her children were to have Hamilton read to them. Most of all, she was always gracious and friendly in encouraging novice writers.

She is truly missed by the young adult literature community and literary establishment.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference is sponsored by the College and Graduate School of Education and the School of Library and Information Science through the College of Continuing Studies.

The conference will be held April 3 and 4. Call (330) 672-3100 to register or visit the Web site http://ccsweb.ccs.kent.edu/ to learn more about these and other workshops.

KSU School of Theatre and Dance will present the Kent Dance Ensembles 2003 main stage concert, Nein Young at 8 p.m. April 4 and 5 and 2:30 p.m. April 6. The concert will be performed in the E. Turner Stump Theatre of the Music Speech Center. Nine dancers representing the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in dance performance and dance education make up the 2002-03 pre-professional student company.

Nein Young will feature works by Darwin Prioleau, former faculty member Tommy Parlon, artist-in-residence Chung-Fu Chang and guest choreographers Wayne M. Smith and Sabatino Verlezza.

Tickets may be purchased at the box office by calling (330) 672-2497. For more information on the Dance Division and the School of Theatre and Dance, visit the Web site www.dance.kent.edu.

Driving to the Stark Campus two days a week to teach Journalism and Mass Communication classes has provided the chance to listen to books on tape. I just finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Narrator Dean Robertson is wonderful and I highly recommend the audio book version of this best seller. You wont be disappointed.

Have a suggestion for a column item about Kent State University or local Kent organizations? Contact Margaret Garmon at (330) 678-1450 or e-mail her at mgarmon@kent.edu.

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