‘American Born Chinese’ creator to speak on campus

‘American Born Chinese’ creator to speak on campus

Gene Luen Yang


Critically acclaimed cartoonist and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, whose work explores cultural and religious themes, inspired an upcoming streaming series, and pitted Superman against the Klan, will speak at Grove City College next week.

Yang will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the auditorium of Crawford Hall on campus. He will discuss his work, including the graphic novel “Boxers and Saints,” which addresses the violent conflict between traditional Chinese culture and western influences, including Christianity, during the 1899-1901 Boxer Rebellion in China, and “Secret Coders,” a series of mystery novels for kids that teaches about basic coding.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Critics have hailed Yang’s graphic novels and comic books as groundbreaking. The accomplished and prolific writer and artist’s work includes the graphic novels “The Shadow Hero,” “Secret Coders,” “The Rosary Book,” and “American Born Chinese,” which is soon to be a Disney+ series featuring “Everything Everywhere All at Once” stars and recent Academy Award winners Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan.

Yang has written a number of comic series, including The Last Airbender for Dark Horse, “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings” for Marvel, and “Superman Smashes the Klan” for DC, along with independent and self-published titles. In 2016, he earned a “Genius Grant” from The MacArthur Foundation, which said his "work for young adults demonstrates the potential of comics to broaden our understanding of diverse cultures and people."

Yang’s lecture serves as a keynote address for the College’s annual Christian Writers Conference, which runs March 30 and 31 on campus. This year’s conference, “Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads,” is hosted by the Department of English and supported by the Lilly Fellows Program.

“We look forward to hearing Mr. Yang’s perspectives on art, faith, and cultural engagement for readers at all levels. He has a gift for tackling important subjects with complexity, creativity, and humor. We hope that fans of comics and graphic novels of all ages will be able to join us that evening—we are honored to have an artist of his caliber as a guest on campus,” Dr. Kristen B. Waha, associate professor of English.

In addition to Yang, the two-day Christian Writers Conference features a lineup of scholars presenting papers and speaking on the theme.

Dr. Susan VanZanten, senior research professor in the Humanities at Valparaiso University, will address the conference on Friday, March 31. VanZanten, former dean of Valparaiso’s Christ College honors college, is the author of many peer-reviewed and general essays, as well as nine books in areas as varied as African Literature, American literature, and Christian higher education.

Among the conference presenters are Grove City College faculty Dr. Elizabeth A. Baker, assistant Professor of History, Dr. Kristin A. Barbour, adjunct assistant professor of Theatre, and Dr. Kelsey B. Madsen, assistant professor of French and chair of the Department of Modern Languages.

For more about the Christian Writers Conference and the Department of English at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/engl.

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