Apr. 19, 2011

Acclaimed British novelist to read from latest work

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Award-winning British novelist Andrea Levy will read from her latest novel, "The Long Song," and discuss her craft on Friday, April 29, at 4 p.m. in Newton Hall, room 201.

Set in Jamaica in the early 1800s, "The Long Song" examines the relationship between Great Britain and the Caribbean during the final years of slavery and the period immediately after emancipation. The daughter of Jamaican migrants herself, Levy uses her fiction to rewrite British history to include her ancestors. The Jamaican sugar plantation economy that depended on the labor of enslaved peoples and the 1831 Baptist Wars are seen through the eyes of a former house slave, July, who as an old woman can now look back upon her life and write her story.

The novel was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2010 and was in contention for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her fourth novel, "Small Island," won the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2004 and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2005.

"Having Andrea on campus is a wonderful opportunity for upstate New York," said Professsor Maria Lima, who has taught Levy's novels in her English classes since before they were earning so many prizes.

Levy's visit to Geneseo is sponsored by the Department of English, the Office of the Provost, the Office of International Programs, Campus Auxiliary Services, the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services and the Residence Life office.