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Renowned author speaks at Shepherd

October 25, 2007

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr., famed author, educator, scholar, editor, literary critic and intellectual, was on the Shepherd Univeristy campus recently as its Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence.

On Oct. 3, Gates spoke before a standing-room-only audience in the university's Frank Theater on "Speaking of Race and Appalachia" and was presented with the Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award.

Gates, a native of Piedmont, W.Va., earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University and was the first African-American to be awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship. Since 1991, he has served on the faculty of Harvard University and is director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. His books inclulded "Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self," "Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars," "Colored People: A Memoir," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man," "The African American Century" and "Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own." A reception and book signing followed his lecture.

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The Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award and Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project were developed by the Department of English at Shepherd University in 1998 to celebrate and honor the work of a distinguished contemporary Appalachian writer. The literary residency was designed to function in concert with the Appalachian Heritage Festival, an annual celebration of Appalachian artistic and cultural traditions, sponsored by the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd.

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