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Press Releases

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Panel Discussion on New Student Reader Book 'Sula' August 24

SulaSALISBURY, MD---In 1973, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison painted a vivid picture of the meaning — and cost — of being an African American woman in her critically acclaimed novel Sula.

This summer, hundreds of incoming students at Salisbury University are reading the book as part of SU’s New Student Reader program, designed to introduce them to the academic community by sharing a common reading experience with classmates, faculty, staff and upperclassmen who serve as orientation team peer leaders.

The public is invited to join in that experience as SU faculty host a panel discussion on the book 6 p.m. Thursday, August 24, in Perdue Hall’s Bennett Family Auditorium.

Panelists include Drs. James King and April Logan of the English Department, Aston Gonzalez of the History Department and Chrys Egan of the Communication Arts Department. They discuss the novel’s literary value, as well as its historical and cultural contexts, and continued relevance in a contemporary setting.

The next day, King serves as the speaker at SU’s annual Convocation ceremony for incoming students, who participate in group discussions of the book as part of orientation activities.

Sula tells the story of two African-American girls from small-town Ohio who form a close-knit bond during childhood before a tragedy weakens that connection. As adults, they drift apart, one settling for a conventional life as a wife and mother while the other seeks excitement elsewhere, only to return and become vilified in her hometown. Eventually, both must face the consequences of their decisions.

The New York Times called Sula “extravagantly beautiful … enormously, achingly alive … a howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitter.” The Independent (UK) praised it as “a strange and heady mix of lyricism,” calling it the “book of a lifetime.”

Admission to the panel discussion is free. For more information, call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at


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