MFA Art Writing lecture series: Quijote Talks

MFA Art Writing lecture series: Quijote Talks

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Teju Cole. Photo: Yasmin Omari. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Iduma. Maaza Mengiste. Photo: Miriam Berkley. Photo courtesy of Joshua Sperling.


October 8, 2018
MFA Art Writing lecture series: Quijote Talks
School of Visual Arts (SVA)
209 East 23rd Street
New York, New York 10010
United States

All events are free and open to the public and take place in our library in New York at 132 West 21st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, on the 6th floor.

To view recordings of past talks, visit our website.

“Words For Pictures: A Conversation on Looking, Writing, and Breaking Form”
Teju Cole in conversation with Emmanuel Iduma
Thursday, September 6 at 6:30pm

“Unheard-Of Things”
Maaza Mengiste
Thursday, October 18 at 6:30pm

Maaza Mengiste will ask each of us to examine the connections among language, violence, and the image. What is an artist’s responsibility in a violent world? How can we begin to understand what we are seeing if we choose to leave certain words unsaid? 

Maaza Mengiste’s debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the ten best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, and other publications. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, the New York Review of BooksGranta, the Guardian, the New York TimesRolling Stone, and the BBC, among other places. Her second novel is forthcoming.

A Stranger’s Pose (2018, Cassava Republic Press, with a foreword by Teju Cole)
Emmanuel Iduma
Thursday, November 29 at 6:30pm

A unique blend of travelogue, memoir, and photography, A Stranger’s Pose draws the reader into a world of encounters haunted by the absence of home, estrangement from a lover and family tragedies. The author’s recollections and reflections of fragments of his journeys to African cities, from Dakar to Douala, and from Khartoum to Casablanca, offer a compelling and very personal meditation on the meaning of home and the generosity of strangers to a lone traveler.

Emmanuel Iduma is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. He is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing for his profiles of Nigerian artists. He holds an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he now teaches. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

A Writer of Our Time: The Life & Writings of John Berger (2018, Verso)
Author Joshua Sperling in conversation with David Levi Strauss
Thursday, December 6 at 6:30pm

John Berger (1926–2017) was one of the most influential voices of postwar Europe: by turns an art critic, a polemicist, a visual theorist, a storyteller. Built around a series of personal watersheds, A Writer of Our Time traces Berger’s development from his roots as an art student and cultural cold warrior in 1950s London, through the heady days of the New Left—when the revolutions were not only political but sexual and artistic—to his reinvention as a rural storyteller and the spiritual lodestar of the anti-globalization movement. As much a portrait of an age as a person, the book ultimately asks: how can we preserve the multiple layers of our loyalties during moments of immense political pressure?

Joshua Sperling was born in New York City and grew up in California. His writing has appeared in the Brooklyn RailGuernicaFilm QuarterlyJump Cut and Bullett Magazine, among other publications. He received a PhD in Comparative Literature, Film and Media from Yale University and currently teaches at Oberlin College.


MFA program in Art Writing
The MFA program in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York is now accepting applications for the Fall 2019 term. Generous departmental scholarships, as well as other forms of assistance, are available for successful applicants. Contact us at artwriting [​at​], or T (212) 592-2408 for further information or to set up an appointment. The early decision deadline is February 1, 2019.

To see sample programs, faculty bios, news, the online journal Degree Critical, recordings of our lecture series, and admissions procedures, go to

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School of Visual Arts (SVA)
October 8, 2018

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