Samuel Delany

2008

Umberto Eco considers him a “fascinating writer . . . who has invented a new style.” Galaxy Magazine considers him “the best science fiction writer in the world.” The Nation calls him “brilliant, driven, prolific” and says that he “has a fearsomely stocked intellect, and a wider range of experience than most writers can even imagine.”

The Marygrove College English and Modern Languages Department proudly announces that Samuel R. Delany will be the twentieth visiting author in its Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. The second author of science fiction to participate in the series—the first was the late Octavia Butler in 1994—the tireless Delany has written nearly fifty book-length works: novels, short stories, essays, memoirs, and literary criticism. He will deliver the Lillian and Donald Bauder Lecture on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 8 p.m. in the Madame Cadillac Building’s Alumnae Hall.

Delany uses the distant times and places in which he sets his work as opportunities to comment on issues he considers important in our own time. He writes frequently of people who challenge conventional values and accepted patterns of behavior, and he explores the nature of change and the ways that change occurs. His works themselves reflect these themes by challenging common assumptions about language, structure, and genre.

Samuel R. Delany grew up in Harlem and began his career as novelist at age nineteen. By the time he was twenty-five (1967), he had published nine novels and had won two Nebula Awards, given to the year’s best works of science fiction. Since then, he has continued to produce groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy. Major works include novels Babel-17 (1966); The Einstein Intersection (1967); Nova (1968); the trilogy The Fall of the Towers (1970); Dhalgren (1975); Triton (1976); a series of fantasy novels, Return to Nèverÿon (1979-87); Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (1984), Equinox (1994), and Phallos (2004). He has two collections of short-stories, Driftglass: Ten Tales of Speculative Fiction (1971) and Aye, and Gomorrah: Stories (2003), which includes the stories of the earlier volume. His nonfiction includes critical essays about literature and about language, sexuality, and race—among a wide range of other subjects. In addition to four Nebula Awards, Delany has twice received the Hugo award for science fiction, the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award for Excellence, and the William Whitehead Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement for Gay and Lesbian Literature. He has also been elected to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

Delany has taught at a number of universities, including the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; SUNY Buffalo; Cornell University; the University of Michigan; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Since 2001 he has been professor of English and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jane Branham Weedman, author of one of four book-length studies of Delany’s work, has written, “Few writers approach the lyricism, the command of language, the powerful combination of style and content that distinguishes Delany's works.” She adds, “Few writers . . . so successfully create works which make us question ourselves, our actions, our beliefs, and our society as Delany has helped us do.”

For more information about Samuel R. Delany and his April 11th visit to Marygrove, please look at his bibliographies below or call 313-927-1383.

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Darcy L. Brandel, Ph.D.
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