Newman University Literature Festival March 31 – April 1

Mar 17, 2011

Newman University’s 12th Annual Literature Festival and Scholar’s Day is set to satisfy participants much like a pot luck dinner. Consider it an educational stew for literature lovers and lifelong learners of all interests. And, it’s based on the theme, “The History of Food.”

Sandra Sherman
Keynote speaker Sandra Sherman, J.D., Ph.D.

The two-day event will be held Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1, at the Newman University campus. The event is expanding this year to incorporate a Scholar’s Day conference for students and faculty from Newman and area high schools. The event will also feature guest speakers, performers, and several presentations by Newman faculty and students. Guest speakers and presenters represent such institutions as Bethany College, New York University, Newman University and Wichita State University. Both days are free and open to the public.

In the spirit of the food theme, presentations and discussions will offer a smorgasbord of options. Literature in print, movie or performance form will be presented and discussed. Presentations will highlight Beowulf, James Joyce’s Ulysses, the making of a graphic novel, slam poetry, and cooking as an analogy for quality teaching, just to name a few. Movies such as Superman, Batman, and Silence of the Lambs will have their highlights. The Scarlet Letter, Gone with the Wind, and Frankenstein also have their timeslots for discussions and analysis.

Keynote speaker Sandra Sherman, J.D., Ph.D., will present “What Does Food History Teach Us About Us?” on Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in Dugan-Gorges Conference Center inside the Dugan Library and Campus Center. Sherman, adjunct professor of English at Fordham University in New York City and assistant director of the Intellectual Property Institute at Fordham Law School, will explain how the modern American food culture revolves around trends and scares like recalled eggs, locavores and killer spinach, vegans and tainted meat, and heirloom tomatoes. Sherman will also explain the history of food in relation to predicting where popular food culture is likely to go next.

Sherman is the author of The Invention of the Modern Cookbook (Greenwood Press), in addition to three other books and more than 60 articles. Her expertise includes Restoration and 18th Century literature, particularly the development of the novel, and the literary/cultural history of food, poverty and finance. Sherman has been a professor of English at two universities and a senior attorney in several federal agencies. She holds a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania* and a Masters of Laws degree in Intellectual Property Law from Fordham University.

Scholar’s Day will be held Friday, April 1, as a forum for faculty and students to present research and special projects conducted across various fields of study. Presentations, displays and posters will represent areas of study outside of the traditional literature landscape like math, science and history.

Newman will also host its annual International Luncheon during the Literature Festival in honor of the event’s food theme. The luncheon will be held Friday, April 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. The cost is $5. For a complete schedule of the two-day event visit

Slam poetry is also on the agenda. The Wichita Slam Team will participate in a panel discussion on Friday afternoon, and then perform at 7 p.m. that evening. Carlos Andres Gómez, award-winning poet and actor from New York City, will perform at 8 p.m. in the Tarcisia Roths, ASC Alumni Center.

Gómez was the winner of the 2009 Artist of the Year Award at the Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards. He was also the 2006 Toronto International Poetry Slam Champion and co-starred in Spike Lee’s box office hit Inside Man, with a lead role alongside Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. Gómez is described by Underrated Magazine as “a rebel Don Juan with a sensitive edge.” Gómez was crowned the 2004 North Carolina Poetry Grand Slam Champion and took the title of 2004 Mid-Atlantic Spoken Word Festival Grand Slam. Gómez has performed at over 100 colleges and universities and toured across North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Bryan Dietrich, Newman University English professor and widely published poet, will talk at noon, Friday, April 1, in the Tarcisia Roths, ASC Alumni Center. Dietrich will read from At the Latitudes of Lohse, his upcoming science fiction novel not yet published. Dietrich is the author of a book-length study on comics, Wonder Woman Unbound, and six books of poems:  Krypton Nights, Universal Monsters, Prime Directive, Love Craft, The Assumption, and The Monstrance. In addition, he is the co-editor of Drawn to Marvel, the world’s first anthology of superhero poetry, and has published poems in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Yale Review, Shenandoah, Open City, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Witness, Weird Tales, and many other journals.

For more information about the event contact Susan Crane Laracuente, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English at Newman University, 316-942-4291, ext. 2226, or e-mail [email protected].

* Correction made March 22, 2011