* Purdue Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium
* Oncological Sciences Center
* College of Liberal Arts
* Discovery Park
* Purdue Cancer Center

October 15, 2008

Pulitzer playwright headlines three-day cancer event at Purdue

Margaret Edson
Download photo

American playwright Margaret Edson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "W;t" in 1999, will be the keynote speaker and lead a series of activities during Purdue's Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium on Nov. 5-7.

Edson will lecture on several scenes of her award-winning play at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. Performers from Purdue Theatre will act out scenes during Edson's talk. A book signing follows at 9 p.m., said event co-organizer Julie Nagel, managing director of Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center.

Edson also will lead writing workshops at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in Stewart Center, Room 310. An event, titled "Scenes and Discussions with Margaret Edson," follows at 3 p.m. in Mallett Theatre at the Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts.

A screening of the movie "W;t" - starring Emma Thompson - is planned the night before Edson's campus activities at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Long Center for Performing Arts, 111 N. Sixth St., in downtown Lafayette.

All events in conjunction with Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium are free and open to the public.

The play follows the character Vivian Bearing, a John Donne scholar and professor of English who is hospitalized and dying of ovarian cancer. Through her illness, she begins to assess her life in what has been characterized as a profound and humorous journey of transformation.

Edson's play was first produced in 1995 at South Coast Repertory in California, and she said she used her work experience in a hospital for background in writing the play. She teaches kindergarten at Centennial Place Elementary School in Atlanta.

The colloquium and Edson's visit are sponsored by Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center, Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue Cancer Center, Department of English, the Patti and Rusty Reuff Department of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Division of Theatre. Community sponsors include Horizon Oncology Center and Pets and Vets as Partners.

The Oncological Sciences Center, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, launched the Cancer Culture & Community Program last year to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to those struggling with cancer.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,

Sources:   Julie Nagel, (765) 496-9316,

Marietta Harrison, director, Oncological Science Center, (765) 494-1442,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Margaret Edson's play is correctly titled "W;t" as part of the play's reference to a recurring theme of the use of a semicolon instead of a comma in a sonnet by poet John Donne. Journalists who want to arrange an interview with Edson in advance of her visit to Purdue should contact Phillip Fiorini at (765) 496-3133,

To the News Service home page