We are delighted to be hearing from the following speakers:
Ato Quayson is a Ghanaian academic and literary critic, who is University Professor, Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006) and the Royal Society of Canada (2013). General editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, Quayson is also on the editorial boards of Research in African Literatures, the University of Toronto Quarterly, and New Literary History. He was Chief Examiner in English of the International Baccalaureate (2005–07) and has been a member of the Diaspora and Migrations Project Committee of the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK. A prolific scholar, Quayson has published texts including Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (Duke UP, 2014); Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature, 2 vols, ed. (Cambridge UP, 2012); Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (Columbia UP, 2007); The Cambridge Companion to the Postcolonial (Cambridge UP, 2016); Strategic Transformations in Nigerian Writing (Indiana UP, 2007), Calibrations: Reading for the Social (Minnesota UP, 2003); and Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process? (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000).
Xavier Dolan is a Québécois actor, director, screenwriter, and editor. He first received international acclaim in 2009 for his debut, semi-autobiographical feature I Killed My Mother (J’ai tué ma mère), which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in at the age of 19. Mommy (2014), which he also wrote and directed, shared the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (with Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu à langage) and won nine Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture. A nuanced storyteller, Dolan has garnered many other awards, including the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for It’s Only the End of the World. The film also won Dolan the César Awards for Best Director and Best Editing. In a departure from feature film, he directed the video for Adele’s “Hello,” which won the Juno Award for Video of the Year. He is currently writing, directing, and producing his first English-language film, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, with an ensemble cast, including Natalie Portman, Jacob Tremblay, Susan Sarandon, and Kathy Bates.
Sheri Fink is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown, 2013) about choices made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She refers to the book as a work of “narrative journalism,” alluding to the challenges of the genre. Five Days at Memorial’s awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, the Ridenhour Book Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award. A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, Fink received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford. She is a correspondent at the New York Times, where her and her colleagues’ stories on the West Africa Ebola crisis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, the George Polk Award, and the Overseas Press Club Hal Boyle Award. Her articles have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Discover, and Scientific American.