UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Shara McCallum, 2021-22 Penn State Laureate and Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, will visit Penn State Berks to read from her works at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 25. The event, which will take place in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public.
Originally from Jamaica, McCallum is a poet who has authored six books and has had poems and essays published in journals, anthologies and textbooks throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Israel. Her latest book, “No Ruined Stone,” which was released this August, is a “novel in verse” based on a thread from the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was considering migrating to Jamaica to work on a slave plantation around the same time his first book was being published in 1786.
McCallum’s poems have been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian, Dutch and Turkish, and have been set to music by composers Marta Gentilucci and Gity Razaz. She has received numerous awards, including the prestigious silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. The award, similar to the United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, honors Jamaican individuals for demonstrated excellence in their respective fields of literature, arts, and science. Established in 1889, it is the oldest award of its kind to be awarded in the Western Hemisphere.
The Penn State Laureate is an honor bestowed to one full-time faculty member each year to bring greater visibility to the arts and humanities, to Penn State, and to the faculty member’s work. During her tenure, McCallum will conduct writing workshops and make numerous speaking engagements throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere; she will also showcase the works of other Pennsylvania poets during “Poetry Moment,” a weekly segment that airs Mondays on WPSU Radio and is available for downloading on the station’s website.
Additional information, as well as McCallum’s complete fall schedule, which includes virtual events, can be found on the Penn State Laureate webpage. For more information on McCallum’s visit to Penn State Berks, contact Jeanne Rose, associate professor of English, at [email protected].