sealPurdue News

January 17, 2002

Purdue professors resume Books and Coffee program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue Student Union Board and the Purdue English department will offer the 51st annual Books and Coffee program beginning Thursday, Jan. 31, and continuing for four consecutive Thursdays.

The program will take place from 4-5 p.m. in Stewart Center, Room 302-306. Coffee service begins at 4 p.m., followed by a book discussion at 4:30 p.m. Charles Ross, professor of English and head of the comparative literature department, will launch the program with a discussion of "Soul Mountain" by Xingjian Gao.

A Chinese author, Gao won the 2000 Nobel Prize in literature. Recently translated into English, "Soul Mountain" tells the fictional story of Gao's flight from Communist Beijing and his five-month journey through the remote forests of China. During his journey, Gao searches for the elusive Lingshan, a sacred and possibly mythical mountain.

On Feb. 7, poet and creative writing Professor Donald Platt will discuss "Electric Light," the latest collection of poetry from 1995 Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. The poetry, with both political and pastoral overtones, features scenes from Heaney's childhood and adolescence.

Heaney will visit Purdue April 22 to provide an address at the English department literary awards banquet, after which he will provide a public reading of his work. Two tickets for the banquet will be awarded as a prize after the Books and Coffee discussion.

S.K. Robisch, assistant professor of English, will follow on Feb. 14 by addressing "Tigers in the Snow" by Peter Matthiessen. The book centers on a united effort by American and Russian scientists to study and preserve the Siberian tiger in its last refuge, a nature reserve near the borders of China, Russia and North Korea.

The program will conclude Feb. 21 when foreign language and literature Professor Suzie Suriam will discuss the debut novel "White Teeth" by 24-year-old author Zadie Smith. The book chronicles the experiences of two multiracial London families during the second half of the 20th century.

Emily Allen, program coordinator and assistant professor of English, says the purpose of the program is to enhance the appreciation of literature in an informal, enjoyable atmosphere.

"Books and Coffee is not only the longest-running and best-attended lecture series at Purdue, but a great way to spend a winter afternoon," Allen says. "The 2002 lineup features engaging speakers and exciting new books from around the world – all to be enjoyed over a free cup of Starbuck's coffee or tea."

Each discussion is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Books and Coffee Web site.

CONTACT: Heather Owen, Purdue Student Union Board program advisor, (765) 494-8976,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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