2020 Provost Visiting Scholar: Jason Reynolds, NY Times Bestselling Author
Award winning author, Jason Reynolds will serve as the Museum of Education’s National Visiting Scholar in February 2020. Reynolds short campus residency will coincide with the spring exhibition focused on violence in education. As an internationally acclaimed author, Reynolds has been invited to campus to promote discussions and research inquiry on youth and society, centering his discussions on the themes and topics of several of his books including “Long Way Down,” “All American Boys,” and “The Boy in the Black Suit.” He will participate in a variety of intellectual activities and interact with several audiences including local youth, USC students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty and staff; and local professional educators. Reynolds’ residency will include:
Common Read Campus Lecture
Reynolds will give a major lecture on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus for students, faculty and staff. This event will also be open to local school districts. The lecture will focus on Reynold’s highly acclaimed book, Long Way Down. Long Way Down is a novel written in free verse that tells the story of an African American teen boy at a crossroads. Determined to avenge his 19-year-old brother's death, Will, age 15, takes his brother's gun out of their shared bedroom to kill the person he's certain is the murderer, but it's a long way down in the elevator. The novel takes place in the span of the 60-second ride from the seventh floor to the lobby, as Will's past and "The Rules" he's learned about being tough flash before him, aided by conversations with the ghosts of friends and relatives who were victims of gun violence. This book bravely and unapologetically presents the life realities with which many youth grapple-- death, grief, violence, social codes, and emotional health are all central to this story. The book will be a common read among small cohorts at USC and at local public schools.
Creative Writing Retreat
Reynolds will co-lead a one-day creative writing retreat open to students and faculty. Anthony Keith, poet and spoken word artist, will co-lead the retreat with Reynolds. The retreat’s purpose is to help groom future fiction and/or creative writers (poets, etc.) by cultivating their skills, developing an intellectual peer community of writers, and helping future writers to better understanding the craft as a profession. The retreat is co-sponsored by the Department of English and the African and African American Studies Program.
College of Educational Educational Inquiry Roundtable: A Focus on Youth Literacy
Finally, Reynolds will serve as a guest discussant in an educational inquiry roundtable focused on youth literacy and middle level education. The roundtable will engage literacy and middle level education faculty and students in critical discussions with a creative scholar about trending issues impacting youth literacy and tackling difficult social topics within young adult and middle grade literature.