Graphic designer, novelist Chip Kidd to speak

Author Chip Kidd reading. Chip Kidd, celebrated book-cover designer turned novelist, will speak several times to the campus and community Wednesday, Sept. 15, at SUNY Oswego, including his featured talk at 7 p.m. in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

The author of “The Learners,” this year’s Oswego Reading Initiative (ORI) selection on campus, also will talk at 12:40 p.m. about graphic arts and at 3 p.m. as part of the college’s Living Writers Series, both in the Campus Center auditorium. All Kidd’s appearances are free and open to the public.

Kidd’s books—“The Learners” is his second, following “The Cheese Monkeys”—have created a splash with their unique use of graphic design and fontgraphy as an integral part of his tales about Happy, a frequently unhappy young graphic designer.

The author was famous long before his novels, creating the iconic dinosaur-skeleton silhouette cover for Michael Crichton’s 1990 “Jurassic Park,” the backlit staggering man and blood-red sunset of Cormac McCarthy’s 2003 “No Country for Old Men” and others.

Dr. Rameen Mohammadi, associate provost for undergraduate and special programs, chairs the ORI selection committee, which annually chooses a book to engage faculty, staff and students over the summer. One main goal is to stimulate critical thinking in classes and other activities around the book in the fall.

“We have to have a book that will connect to the disciplines that the students are going to be engaged in,” Mohammadi said. He pointed out that “The Learners” can spark discussions across multiple disciplines—for example, Stephen Wurst, a psychology faculty member, recommended this creatively written book about a graphic designer.

Part of “The Learners” deals with the infamous Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, a set of psychological experiments on obedience to authority in 1961 at Yale University that led to debate about deceptive and stressful techniques in research on humans. Colleges and universities now must have boards of review for any research that sets out to involve human subjects.

Mohammadi said many undergraduates at SUNY Oswego do scientific research, and “The Learners” will be at the center of a panel discussion on the ethics of human-subject research later this fall.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Chip Kidd, who will appear Sept. 15 at SUNY Oswego, brings a graphic designer’s sensibility and humor to his novels “The Learners” and “The Cheese Monkeys,” which spin off his celebrated career designing book covers such as the ones for “Jurassic Park” and “No Country for Old Men.” (Photo by Amanda Stern)

(Posted: Sep 03, 2010)

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