Kwame Dawes Named 2011 Honnold Lecturer

Poet, artist featured in campus events March 24-25

March 01, 2011

Kwame DawesKwame Dawes, an author and artist whose credits include an Emmy Award-winning documentary and a book on reggae legend Bob Marley, has been named the 2011 Honnold Lecturer at Knox College.

During his three-day residency in March on the Knox campus in Galesburg, Illinois, Dawes will be featured in two free, public events -- a lecture and a poetry reading. He also will meet with Knox College students and faculty in classes and informal conferences.

Dawes will give the 2011 Honnold Lecture, "Chameleon of Suffering: Art, Empathy and Citizenship," at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 24 in Kresge Hall, Ford Center for the Fine Arts. The lecture will examine the role of the artist in society and the value of art in engendering citizenship through the insights of empathy.

Bob Marley, by Kwame DawesDawes will read from his own poetry at 4 p.m., Friday, March 25, in the Muelder Room, Seymour Library.

The lecture and reading are free and open to the public.

The 2011 Honnold Lecture at Knox College is sponsored by the Honnold Fund, John & Elaine Fellowes Fund, Caxton Club and Office of the President.

Dawes has won acclaim for his work as an author, literary critic, actor, musician, broadcaster and playwright. "His career is distinguished by the remarkable breadth and depth of his artistic life," said Nicholas Regiacorte, associate professor of English, in the citation for the honorary doctorate that Knox awarded to Dawes in June 2010.

In addition to 15 volumes of poetry, two novels and a memoir, Dawes wrote the book "Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius," a study of one of the 20th century's most influential musicians.

Dawes won a 2009 Emmy Award in the category New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming for the website, "Hope: Living & Loving with HIV in Jamaica." The site combines music and interviews, Dawes's poetry and photographs by Josh Cogan -- creating what Dawes describes as a "lament, anthem, and alarm."

His play "One Love," premiered at the Lyric Theatre in London in 2001. The play is an adaptation of Roger Mais' novel "Brotherman," and was commissioned by Talawa, one of Britain's leading black theatre companies.

Project HOPEA native of Ghana, Dawes spent most of his childhood in Jamaica, attending Jamaica College and the University of the West Indies at Mona. He studied and taught at the University of New Brunswick, where he earned his PhD.

Dawes is Distinguished Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina, where he is also the Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts, and the founder and executive Director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative. He is also director of the University of South Carolina Arts Institute and the programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival, held annually in Jamaica.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

History of the Honnold Lecture
The Honnold Lecture began in 1929 and was permanently endowed in 1936 by the Honnold Fund, established by William Lincoln Honnold (1866-1950). Its purpose is to bring leaders in various fields to Knox College for public talks, informal discussions with students and faculty, and classes relating to their special fields of expertise. Honnold Lecturers have included distinguished figures from the arts, sciences and other professions.

Honnold attended Knox College's prep school, the Knox Academy, in 1886-87 and subsequently earned a degree in engineering from the Michigan College of Mines. In addition to his career as a mining engineer, he was awarded decorations from Belgium and France for his work with refugees during World War I. He received honorary degrees from Knox College, Claremont College, and the Michigan College of Mines.