Author and Poet Asha Bandele to Read at UT Dallas

March 30, 2009

Award-winning author and poet Asha Bandele will make a special public appearance at UT Dallas for a book reading presented by the Institute for Urban Policy Research and McDermott Library.

The free event is set for April 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the McDermott Library Auditorium (MC 2.410).

“Ms. Bandele has written a number of works that are both beautiful and insightful for the future of urban policy in America,” said Timothy M. Bray, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. “In particular, her biographical The Prisoner’s Wife: A Memoir.”

The book, published in 2000, is a story of raw emotions about promising college student Bandele falling in love in the grimmest of circumstances. After attempting suicide and being expelled from college, she returned to another university and began to write poetry. It was through a poetry reading at the Eastern Correctional Facility in New York state that she met a prisoner who had been convicted of a gang-related murder; armed robbery and gun possession and was serving 20 years to life. They married in prison, touching off a series of emotions and events that make Bandele’s story riveting.

In a book published this year, Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story, Bandele writes about the birth of her daughter and humiliating visits to the prison, where her husband remained incarcerated. The book chronicles the breakup with her husband, her ensuing relationships, and the inspiration drawn from her daughter.

In addition to being a popular writer, Bandele is an acclaimed poet. Her work has been performed in a variety of public readings, including Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. Bandele’s poetry collections include Absence in the Palms of My Hands: & Other Poems and The Subtle Art of Breathing. Bandele served as features editor and writer for Essence magazine and for a year was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. She has written for The New York Times, Family Circle and Vibe. Her works have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The event will be followed by a book signing. A community reception and book reading is scheduled for 6 that evening at the Minc Lounge, 813 Exposition Ave. in Dallas. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site.

The Institute for Urban Policy Research was founded in 2005 as the J. McDonald Williams Institute. It is dedicated to improving lives through community-based research that informs, motivates and empowers ordinary people and the policy-makers, civic leaders and organizations who serve them.


Event Information: Dr. Timothy Bray, (972) 883-5432 or timothy.bray@iupr.utdallas.edu.
Media Contact: Audrey Glickert, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, audrey.glickert@utdallas.edu

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Asha and Nisa Bandele

A portrait of Asha Bandele and her daughter, Nisa, appears on the cover of the recently published Something Like Beautifull: One Single Mother’s Story.

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