NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Shara McCallum, 2021-22 Penn State Laureate and Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, will visit Penn State New Kensington to read from her works on Nov. 2. The event, which will take place during Common Hour (12:05 to 1:20 p.m.) in the campus’ Forum Theatre, is free and open to the public. Please note that masking is required indoors at all University locations regardless of vaccination status.
Originally from Jamaica, McCallum is a poet who has authored six books and has had poems and essays published in journals, anthologies and textbooks throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Israel. Her latest book, “No Ruined Stone,” which was just released last month, is a “novel in verse” based on a thread from the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was considering migrating to Jamaica to work on a slave plantation around the same time his first book was being published in 1786.
McCallum’s poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian, Dutch and Turkish and have been set to music by composers Marta Gentilucci and Gity Razaz. She has received numerous awards, including the prestigious silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. The award, similar to the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, honors Jamaican individuals for demonstrated excellence in their respective fields of literature, arts, and science. Established in 1889, it is the oldest award of its kind to be awarded in the Western Hemisphere.
The Penn State Laureate is an honor bestowed to one full-time faculty member each year to bring greater visibility to the arts and humanities, to Penn State, and to the faculty member’s work. During her tenure, McCallum will conduct writing workshops and make numerous speaking engagements throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere. She will also showcase the works of other Pennsylvania poets throughout her tenure during “Poetry Moment,” a weekly segment that airs Mondays on WPSU Radio and is available for downloading on the station’s website.
Additional information, as well as McCallum’s complete fall schedule, can be found on the Penn State Laureate webpage.