|September 21, 2007|
"Black Ice" author Lorene Cary here Sept. 27
Lorene Cary, whose acclaimed coming-of-age memoir, Black Ice, chronicles her life as the first African-American female student at an exclusive New England prep school, will speak Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.
Her talk, part of the College’s Presidential Forum on Diversity, is free and open to the public. A book signing and reception will follow.
Black Ice describes the journey in 1972 by Cary, a bright black teenager from Philadelphia, into the world of the elite St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, formerly all-white and all-male. In detailing her life as a scholarship student and then teacher at St. Paul’s, Cary explores issues of race, the lives of women and education.
The summer reading choice for this year’s first-year students, Cary’s book was selected by a group of students, faculty and administrators.
“We believe it explores important personal issues relevant to many students on the threshold of their college experience, and we believe it wrestles with issues that are significant to campus life,” said President Stephen C. Ainlay.
“The book is meant to acclimate the newcomers and gain an understanding of how the Union College community is built and cultivated,” said Political Science Professor Byron Nichols.
First-years were asked to engage in a Blackboard discussion in August before coming to campus. More than 80 percent of the first-years participated in the exchanges, which was organized by the Minerva House Council.
Written in 1992, Black Ice was chosen by the American Library Association as one of its most notable books that year. It was called “a stunning memoir . . . subtly nuanced and unsparingly self-aware,” by the New York Times Book Review. The Washington Post Book World called it “a genuinely remarkable book … by a writer of singular grace, wit and self-knowledge.”
Black Ice is Cary’s first book; she went on to write two novels, Pride, and The Price of a Child.
Cary has been a contributing editor at Newsweek, and associate editor at TV Guide. Her essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, American Visions, Essence and Philadelphia magazine.
She lectures in creative writing at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees and the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. She also holds an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Colby College and is the founder of Art Sanctuary, a nonprofit program for African-American arts and culture in North Philadelphia.
In addition to her talk on Thursday evening, Cary will meet with small groups of first-year students Thursday afternoon and on Friday morning.
Black Ice also was chosen for a discussion by the Sorum Book Club this fall.