Noted author of "Mad in America" and "Map-Maker's Wife" to speak at UTPA
Posted: 04/09/2007
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The University of Texas-Pan American will host noted author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Whitaker April 23-24 to give several presentations regarding his works to students and the public.

Whitaker will give three addresses - one for each of his books - and meet informally with students and faculty. On Monday, April 23, 7 p.m., Whitaker will speak about his schizophrenia research in the Student Union Theater and sign copies of "Mad in America." On Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. Whitaker will discuss his forthcoming book in a talk titled "The Scipio Africanus Jones Case and the Bill of Rights." At 7:30 p.m. he will present a talk titled "Writing Popular Nonfiction," and discuss the research and writing of "The Map-Maker's Wife." Both presentations April 24 will take place at the Albert Jeffers Theater in the Communication Arts and Sciences Building.

- Robert Whitaker
Whitaker's research into schizophrenia treatment in America made him a Pulitzer finalist in 1998. The same year, he received journalism's coveted Polk Award, and "Mad in America," the book he later published on the subject, was named one of the Best Science Books of 2002 by "Discover" magazine, and one of the Best History Books by the American Library Association (ALA).

In 2004, the ALA named Whitaker's second book, "The Map-Maker's Wife (A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon)," one of the year's best biographies. In 2008, Crown will publish Whitaker's third book, an account of a 1919 racial massacre in Arkansas and subsequent legal case that permanently altered federal oversight of state criminal trials. This book has just been awarded the Lukas Best Nonfiction Work-In-Progress Award by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard's Neiman Foundation.

Whitaker has also been director of publications at Harvard Medical School, and the owner of a highly successful publishing company.

"What sort of educational background does this noted expert on history, journalism, law, medicine, psychology, and the publishing business have ... a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado," said Dr. Jean Braithwaite, director of the MFA Creative Writing Program in UTPA's English Department, who organized Whitaker's visit to the campus.

"The exciting thing about Whitaker is his mental versatility and passion. He's living proof of the power of a liberal education. If you develop an appetite for reading, writing, and critical thinking, no subject is off limits to you. I think our students will find him inspiring," Braithwaite said, noting an unprecedented number of departments collaborated to bring him to the campus including the Departments of Psychology, Communication, English, History, Political Science, Criminal Justice as well as the Colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Arts and Humanities. "That's how broad the scope of his work is."

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Braithwaite at