SUNY Empire State To Host Author Myers In Hartsdale

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Khalil Gibran Muhammad, left, director of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, presents Walter Dean Myers with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, left, director of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, presents Walter Dean Myers with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author and SUNY Empire State College alumnus Walter Dean Myers will speak Wednesday, April 30, from 7-9 p.m., at 200 N. Central Ave., Hartsdale.

Myers, a 1984 graduate, is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for children and young adults.

Urban teenagers, and young, economically disadvantaged African-Americans in particular, are frequent subjects of his books. Myers also writes poetry and nonfiction.

Recently the Times published related opinion pieces, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Book?” by Myers, and “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” by his son and collaborator, Christopher Myers.

Upon receiving the college’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, Myers said, “Empire State College was a major influence in my life. Although I enrolled with an offhand interest in getting a degree, I was introduced to the role of prisons and their effect on young people, an interest I have written about extensively.”

Myers’ appearance is the second in the college’s Ambassadors for Community Engagement Lecture Series. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Myers was born in Martinsburg, W. Va. in 1937 and grew up in Harlem, in the ‘40s. After his mother died when he was a toddler, his father gave him to Harlem residents Herbert and Florence Dean to raise.

Although a prodigious reader even as a child, he dropped out of high school and joined the Army on his 17th birthday. Later, while working on a construction job, he began writing for magazines at night.

A winning contest entry with the Council on Interracial Books for Children became his first book, “Where Does the Day Go?”

Myers was the 1994 recipient of the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring an author for a "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

He graduated from the college in 1984 with a B.A. in cultural studies.

For information about the college, log onto  http://www.esc.edu.

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