Just before Spring Break, Penn State hosted a centennial symposium on the life and works of novelist Chester Himes. Like all too many of my generation, I hadn't known of Himes until movie adaptations of his works began to appear, movies like Cotton Comes to Harlem. Those movies, along with Himes's autobiographical works, brought about a late life resurgence of interest in his novels. I still remember the irremediably cool Himes being interviewed on educational television (that's what we called it back in the day) wearing a turtleneck sweater and an attitude.
The Penn State symposium was organized by Jonathan Eburne and brought to campus a group of scholars and writers that included Steve Cannon, Norlisha Crawford, Tyrone Simpson, Christopher Breau, Will Turner, Justus Nieland, Pim Higginson, Kevin Bell, Wendy Walters and Lisa Fluet.
Watch for a publication to emerge from this gathering in the future.