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Author Michael Lewis Will Kick Off President’s Lecture Series

By Joe Garvey

Three New York Times best-selling writers - including Michael Lewis, the author of "Moneyball" and "The Big Short'' - and one of the nation's foremost advocates for social and criminal justice will appear in the 2018-19 Old Dominion University President's Lecture Series.

The series serves as a marketplace for ideas, featuring renowned speakers who share their knowledge, experience, opinions and accomplishments. Discussing timely topics, the series puts diversity first, showcasing authors, educators, business innovators and political figures.

The lectures are at Ted Constant Convocation Center, and most are free and open to the public. The Village Bookstore on Monarch Way will have the authors' books available for sale.

Michael Lewis: In Partnership with the Norfolk Forum and Presented by Signature Family Wealth Advisors

Lewis, who will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, has written more than a dozen books on subjects ranging from politics to Wall Street. His recently released "Fifth Risk" explores mismanagement in federal government.

His other books include "The Blind Side" - which like "Moneyball" and "The Big Short" was made into a movie - and "Liar's Poker," based partly on his experience as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers.

Lewis is a sharp observer of politics, finance and the evolution of American culture, combining keen insight with a clever sense of humor. He is a columnist for Bloomberg News and a contributing writer to Vanity Fair. His articles have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated.

This is a ticketed lecture co-presented by the Norfolk Forum. A limited number of free tickets are available to people affiliated with ODU, including students, faculty and staff. Each person can receive two tickets and must register at odu.imodules.com/lottery1018 by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14. Winners will be notified by email on Sept. 17.

Imbolo Mbue: 41st Annual Literary Festival Speaker

Mbue wrote the novel "Behold the Dreamers," which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was an Oprah's Book Club selection. The novel has been adapted into an opera and translated into 10 languages. It also was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and the Washington Post. She will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 24. The event is free and open to the public.

"Behold the Dreamers" focuses on an immigrant from Cameroon who lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers in New York. The company's collapse forces him to struggle with an impossible choice.

Mbue moved to the United States from Cameroon in 1998 and received a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and a master's from Columbia. Mbue lives in New York.

Claudia Rankine: NEA Big Read and President's Task Force on Inclusive Excellence Speaker

Rankine has written five collections of poetry, including "Citizen: An American Lyric," which was selected for the National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read, and two plays.

Rankine, who will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, also has participated in several video collaborations and edited anthologies, including "The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind." Her talk is free and open to the public.

Rankine has received fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim foundations. "Citizen" won several honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the PEN Open Book Award and the NAACP Image Award. "Citizen" also was the only poetry book to be a New York Times nonfiction bestseller.

She is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Bryan Stevenson: Marc and Connie Jacobson Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Speaker

Bryan Stevenson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which seeks to eliminate injustice and mass incarceration. Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Initiative opened the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, which documents slavery, lynching and discrimination in the United States. His talk, at 7 p.m. March 19, is free and open to the public.

Stevenson and his staff members have won relief or release for more than 125 prisoners on death row. Stevenson also is a law professor at New York University and author of "Just Mercy." Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu has called him America's young Nelson Mandela. Stevenson has received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in 2015.

The annual Wallenberg Lecture is sponsored by the Marc and Connie Jacobson Philanthropic Foundation. Speakers, chosen by the University, must be humanitarians - those who are "making the world a better place" - balanced in their philosophical beliefs and not at either extreme of the social spectrum.

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