'Bonobo Handshake' author to speak Oct. 5

Award-winning journalist, author and research scientist Vanessa Woods will discuss “Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo,” this year’s Oswego Reading Initiative selection for campus-wide reading, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at SUNY Oswego.

Vanessa WoodsIn her book, Woods wove an intimate tale about traveling to Africa with her then-fiance (now husband) in 2005 with remarkable conservation efforts for the world’s most endangered apes, all in the midst of what she called the bloodiest war since World War II.

The author’s keynote presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of Lanigan Hall. It is free but ticketed through any campus box office location or online at http://tickets.oswego.edu. Parking is free in campus lots for those attending the event.

At 3 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium, Woods will deliver a free lecture about her writing process for the Living Writers Series and students in Leigh Wilson’s English and creative writing class. The author also will appear at Rice Creek Field Station, at 1:50 p.m., to meet with Eric Hellquist’s field ecology research class and members of the student organization SEEDS, promoting ecology at SUNY Oswego.

Since 2002, the annual Oswego Reading Initiative has asked students, faculty and staff to read a selected book over the summer, then attend programs and interdisciplinary class exercises around it.

Associate Provost Rameen Mohammadi has said “Bonobo Handshake” teaches students about another culture, threats to one of man’s closest living relatives—the species’ DNAs are 98.7 percent similar—and about how dictatorships have destroyed Congo’s natural resources.

Named the “Good Morning America” top book for 2010 summer reading, “Bonobo Handshake” earned recommendations from publications ranging from Scientific American and New Scientist to Time, People and Elle magazines.

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(Posted: Sep 22, 2011)