Posted September 18, 2007

Temple and Penn to host Richard Wright pre-centennial event

Wright’s daughter to keynote Oct. 12 celebration


In anticipation of the centennial of Richard Wright’s birth, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania are joining for a one-day celebration to examine the author’s work and legacy. The event will be held Friday, Oct. 12.

“Richard Wright’s Legacy: A Pre-Centennial Celebration” morning sessions will be held at Temple, and its afternoon events will be held at Penn.

A highlight of the conference will be two addresses by Wright’s daughter, Julia Wright.

In the morning, Ms. Wright will speak at Temple on “Children of Oppressed Giants: Living with the Legacy of Pain.” That afternoon at Penn, Ms. Wright will discuss “Black Waters, White Waters: Richard Wright’s Premonition of Katrina.”

Born in 1908, the son of an illiterate sharecropper and a Mississippi schoolteacher, Richard Wright held a series of jobs before finding his call as a writer. In 1940, Native Son became the first bestselling novel by an African-American writer. His uncompromising view of how race was a defining element of American life drew both fans and critics, and skyrocketed Wright into the national consciousness.

“We are delighted to have Julia Wright with us as we anticipate the year-long series of celebrations honoring her father that will take place throughout the nation,” said conference organizer and Temple University English Professor Joyce A. Joyce. “Our hope is to give all those who have been moved by Wright’s work an opportunity to discuss his writing and his influence.”

The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is appreciated. To register for the conference, send an e-mail to by Monday, Oct. 1.