Reading series to offer apartheid view

Lucy Li, Copy Editor

The 2018 nonfiction Fall Reading Series is to take place 7 to 8 p.m. Oct.11 in 131 Blackington Hall.

Glen Retief, an associate professor at Susquehanna University, is to read from his memoir about growing up in South Africa, “The Jack Bank: A Memoir of A South African Childhood,”

The book won a Lambda Literary Award in Gay Memoir and Biography. It was also chosen by African Book Club members as one of the best books in 2011.

According to information on Susquehanna University’s website, Retief grew up in a South African game park during apartheid, and he emigrated to the U.S. in 1994.

Pitt-Johnstown associate professor Michael Cox, said that the reading would go for about 45 minutes, including an introduction by Pitt-Johnstown assistant professor Marissa Landrigan, a reading by Retief and a question-and-answer period with the audience.

The selection of series’ readers, according to Cox, is always a poet, a nonfiction writer, and a fiction writer.

“We have extremely limited funding, so we always pick locally- within a short drive of Johnstown. When a professor from (Pitt-Johnstown) reads, he or she does so gratis (i.e., unpaid). It helps keep expenses down while keeping quality high.” Cox said.

Although the budget is limited, Cox said they get excellent people.

“They have to have published one or more books.  The books themselves must be literary (not genre), and of high quality, from a publisher of good books. 

“Retief was chosen because (of) his memoir on growing up in South Africa is exquisitely written and deeply moving,” he said.