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Three distinguished authors will kick off the award-winning President's Lecture Series for 2003-04 at Old Dominion University.

Jill Ker Conway, author of the autobiographies "The Road from Coorain" and "True North: A Memoir" will discuss "When Memory Speaks" Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Author and social observer Sarah Vowell, known for her monologues and commentaries on the National Public Radio program "This American Life," presents "A Partly Cloudy Patriot: An Evening with Sarah Vowell" Thursday, Oct. 2.

Norma Field of the University of Chicago will discuss "Japanese Women's Pursuit of Global Justice" Thursday, Nov. 6.

Lectures begin at 8 p.m. in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building Auditorium (parking is available near the building at 43rd Street and Bluestone Avenue), except the Oct. 2 lecture, which will be in the North Cafeteria in Webb University Center. All lectures are free and open to the public; seating is first-come, first-served. For more information, call (757) 683-3114.

The first female president of Smith College in Massachusetts, Conway was born in Hillston, New South Wales, Australia, in 1934. She lived in the Australian outback until the death of her father in 1945. At that time, Conway, her mother and two brothers moved to Sydney, an industrial seaport city.

Conway graduated from the University of Sydney in 1958. In 1960 she moved to the United States and received her doctorate from Harvard University in 1969. Conway taught at the University of Toronto from 1964 to 1975, serving as vice president from 1973-75.

She has received 16 honorary doctorates from numerous colleges and universities around the nation. Her success and personal definition are shaped by her childhood experiences and are detailed in her autobiographies.

A contributing editor for "This American Life" since 1996, Vowell has written about everything from her father's homemade cannon and her obsession with the "Godfather" films to the New Hampshire primary and her Cherokee ancestors' forced march on the Trail of Tears.

She has been a staple of the NPR program's popular live shows around the country, for which The New York Times has commended her "funny querulous voice and shrewd comic delivery."

Her first book, "Radio On: A Listener's Diary," Newsweek named her "Rookie of the Year" for nonfiction in 1997, calling her "a cranky stylist with talent to burn." About her best-selling third book, "The Partly Cloudy Patriot," The Boston Globe proclaimed, "Vowell is at heart, a storyteller. Her gift is one of cosmic inclusion - allowing the natural collision of intellect and personality, rigorous research and generational quirks."

A student of modern and contemporary Japanese literature and culture, Field has written about everything from Japanese novels to the moral and legal questions of crimes against women in World War II, and from the use of Japanese nationalist symbols to the integration of Koreans into Japanese society.

She is the William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Robert S. Ingersoll Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of Chicago.

Field's current research interests include proletarian literature of the 1920s and 1930s and the role of the Communist Party, especially with respect to women and the arts. "My Grandmother's Land," a collection of her essays including several originally written in Japanese, was recently published to wide acclaim in Japan.

Field grew up in Tokyo and later attended Pitzer College in California, where she earned her bachelor's degree in European studies. She then changed her focus to East Asian studies, and earned a master's from Indiana University and a doctorate from Princeton University.

She came to the University of Chicago as an assistant professor in 1983 and was appointed professor in 1993. She is the author of "The Splendor of Longing in the Tale of Genji," "In the Realm of a Dying Emperor" and "From My Grandmother's Bedside: Sketches of Postwar Tokyo."

If special accommodations are needed, please call 683-3116 at least 14 days prior to the lecture. Sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired is available upon request. TDD users may call 683-5356.

This article was posted on: August 5, 2003

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Telephone: 757-683-3114

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