Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leading author will keynote UMSL’s MLK celebration

Jabari Asim, an influential African-American literary and social critic and prolific author, will be the keynote speaker at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The program includes a dramatic performance, “Zooman and the Sign,” depicting a community’s response to violence directed by Adeniyi “Niyi” Coker, E. Des Lee Endowed Professor of African & African American Studies. In addition, the Dickson Quartet, talented sibling musicians from Oregon, will perform.

Asim, scholar-in-residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the author of the 2009 book, “What Obama Means, For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future.”

Jabari AsimAsim’s 2007 critically acclaimed and controversial book, “The N Word: Who Can Say it, Who Shouldn’t And Why,” generated speaking engagements on college campuses all over the country. He appeared on numerous television and radio shows including “The Today Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Hannity and Colmes,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” “The Diane Rehm Show,” and more.
He is an accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer with his first novel, “Nappy Days,” and three children’s books due out in 2010.

Asim’s distinguished journalism career includes 11 years at the Washington Post as deputy editor of the book review section and as a syndicated columnist writing on political and social issues. He also spent four years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 1990s as a copy editor, book editor and then arts editor. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine.

He is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle and his reviews and cultural criticism have been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Phoenix Gazette, Los Angeles Times Book Review,, the Detroit News, The Village Voice, Hungry Mind Review, XXL, Code, Emerge, Essence, and

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on UMSL’s north campus. For more information visit or call 314-516-5695.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact: Maureen Zegel 314-516-5493 University of Missouri-St. Louis Media Services 414 Woods Hall One University Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63121-4499

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