Publishing Clearinghouse: ‘Dominicana,’ ‘Tropic of Football,’ ‘The Friend’ and banned books

Book events

Angie Cruz, author of “Dominicana,” in conversation with Irina Reyn, part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Made Local series, Presented in partnership with the Pitt Center for African American Poetry and Poetics
6 p.m. Sept. 18, South Wing Reading Room, Carnegie Library Main, Oakland. Free, with registration

Cruz, an associate professor in the English Department’s Writing Program, is the author of the novels “Soledad” and “Let It Rain Coffee,” a finalist in 2007 for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her latest novel, “Dominicana” begins with 15-year-old Ana Cancion. Ana never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate.


“Tropic of Football: The Long and Perilous Journey of Samoans to the NFL” by Rob Ruck
2-4 p.m. Sept. 20, 2500 Posvar Hall

The History Department Book Symposium Series presents a panel discussion of “Tropic of Football.” The panelists include: Ruck, Theodora Polamalu, of the Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation; Rich Scaglion, professor emeritus of Anthropology; and Penny Semaia, senior associate athletic director for student life. The panel will be moderated by Marcus Rediker, professor of History. A book signing and reception will follow.


Sigrid Nunez, author of “The Friend,” part of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Ten Evenings
7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, Carnegie Music Hall. Tickets $15-$35, $10 for students.

Sigrid Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award for “The Friend,” a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the transcendent bond between a woman and her dog. The novel became an instant New York Times bestseller. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.


Kathy Newman discusses “Banning Books Means Banning Children's Literature”
4:30-6 p.m. Sept. 16, 501 Cathedral of Learning

The talk stems from a course called “Banned Books,” which Newman has been teaching in the Carnegie Mellon University English department for the last 10 years. She has learned from this class that books in the are most often banned and/or challenged by adults ostensibly on behalf of children. The issue of censorship and banning books is an issue for the field of children’s literature, and, ultimately, it’s an issue of power. In this talk, Newman will feature a few recent incidents in which children’s literature was challenged and discuss some suggestions about how we can think about and combat book banning in a difficult time. Sponsored by the Children’s Literature certificate program in the English Department.


The University Times welcomes information about new books, journals, plays and musical compositions written or edited by faculty and staff.

Newly published works can be submitted through this link. Please keep the book descriptions short and accessible to a general audience.

Journals should be peer-reviewed. Self-published works will not be accepted. The listings also are restricted to complete works, because individual chapters, articles, works of art and poems would be too numerous.

We’ll also be highlighting some books and book talks with connections to Pitt.

If you have any questions, please contact editor Susan Jones at or 412-648-4294.