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It Matters Now: Emergencies and Public Writing


Featuring Viet Thanh Nguyen, University Professor; Aerol Arnold Chair of English; and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California

Moderated by Denise Cruz, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; and Sue Mendelsohn, Director of the Writing Center; Associate Director of First Year Writing, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Scholarship and personal experience can be powerful tools to guide sound policy during emergency events, particularly when history seems bound to repeat itself. Viet Thanh Nguyen, novelist and USC Professor of English and American Studies and Comparative Literature, discusses writing public essays on urgent topics. 

About the Columbia Public Writing Series

Distinguished writers discuss the craft and strategy of writing to change minds—and the world.

In each session, renowned writers join academic leaders from across the university in spirited conversation to examine the art of writing for public audiences. From sentence-level analyses of craft, to wider discussions of how a specific piece of writing addresses critical issues of the day, such as incarceration, climate change, and refugee crises, the sessions share tactics and tools to produce compelling and persuasive storytelling. As a result, participants learn to think like professional writers—and to build specific skills necessary for their work to reach national and international audiences. 

All members of the Columbia community are welcome; Columbia email required for registration. To benefit most from each event, read the featured article in advance, linked on the website, or available upon request. 

This event will be held online. For questions, please contact sps-events [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.