Publishing clearinghouse: ‘Lab Girl’; Written/Spoken Series; ‘Usual Suspects’

Book events

Book discussion: “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 24, Hillman Library, G74 Amy Knapp room

Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds and soil. “Lab Girl” is her treatise on plant life, but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility and passion that drive every scientist. Gemma Jiang, director of the Organizational Innovation Lab at Swanson School of Engineering, will lead the discussion. Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch. Beverage and dessert will be provided. Space is limited, so please register in advance to reserve your spot.  There also will be a discussion of the book from 12:30-2 p.m. March 24 at Falk Library in Scaife Hall. Register now to get a free copy of the book. Presented as part of the NEA Big Read @ Duquesne University.


Pitt-Greensburg: Written/Spoken Series presents Sarah Elaine Smith and Dave Newman
7 p.m. Feb. 20, 100 Powers Hall

The Written/Spoken Series brings nationally acclaimed writers to campus to read and interact with undergraduate writers and the public. Greene County native Sarah Elaine Smith is the author of “Marilou is Everywhere” (Riverhead Books, 2019) and “I Live in a Hut,” which won the 2011 Cleveland State University Poetry Center's First Books Prize. Dave Newman, an alumnus of Pitt-Greensburg's writing program, is the author of seven books, including most recently, the novel “East Pittsburgh Downlow” (J. New Books, 2019). Student writers Madi Jarnot and Nicole Cortino will open the event with readings from their work.


Book release: "Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction" by School of Education Dean Valerie Kinloch
4-6 p.m. Feb. 25, 4303 Posvar Hall

This volume brings together respected scholars to examine the intersections of race, justice, and activism in direct relation to the teaching and learning of critical literacy. The authors focus on literacy praxis that reflect how students—with the loving, critical support of teachers and teacher educators—engage in resistance work and collaborate for social change. Each chapter theorizes how students and adults initiate and/or participate in important justice work, how their engagements are situated within a critical literacy lens, and what their engagements look like in schools and communities. The authors also explore the importance of this work in the context of current sociopolitical developments, including police shootings, deportations, and persistent educational inequities. A limited quantity of free copies of the book will be provided to registrants, and other copies will be available for purchase following Dean Kinloch's talk. Light refreshments will be available. RSVP here.


Julie Murphy & Alessandra Balzer: An Evening about Young Adult Writing and Publishing, moderated by Siobhan Vivian, English department faculty member
7:30-9 p.m. Feb. 27, Frick Fine Arts Center, part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series

Julie Murphy, a former librarian, is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult books “Side Effects May Vary,” “Dumplin’,” “Ramona Blue” and “Puddin’.” Dumplin’ was recently made into a Netflix film starring Jennifer Aniston. Her latest book, “Dear Sweet Pea,” was released in October 2019.

Alessandra Balzer is co-publisher of the HarperCollins Publishers’ young adult imprint Balzer + Bray. In addition to Murphy, her imprint’s authors include Angie Thomas (“The Hate U Give”), Emily Danforth (“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”), and Ben Philippe (“The Field Guide to the North American Teenager”).


Book talk and signing: “Usual Suspects: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Justice System” by Alec Karakatsanis
1:30-3 p.m. Feb. 27, University Club library

Join the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership in welcoming Alec Karakatsanis for a presentation and signing of his new book Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System.

A former public defender, Karakatsanis is the founder of the Civil Rights Corps, an organization designed to advocate for racial justice and bring systemic civil rights cases on behalf of impoverished people. He is also the 2016 Emerging Leader Award winner from the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, which is presenting the lecture. This event is free and by RSVP only. Refreshments will be included. RSVP to


Center for African American Poetry and Poetics events

  • Reading Justin Phillip Reed: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27, Henry Heymann Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial. Poets Tongo Eisen-Martin, Simone White and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko will read work written in response to the 2018 National Book Award winner Justin Phillip Reed’s upcoming poem collection “The Malevolent Volume.” Reed also will read at the event.

  •  (T)rap Music & Poetry: 9 p.m. Feb. 29, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty. Simone White will host a poetry party with poets Tongo Eisen-Martin and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko.

Both events are part of the K. Leroy Irvine Black History Month celebration a Pitt. 


Book talk: “An Educator's Guide to STEAM: Engaging Students Using Real-World Problems” by Cassie F. Quigley, associate professor of Science Education in the Department of Instruction of Learning at the School of Education, and Danielle Herro, associate professor Digital Media and Learning, Clemson
4:30-5:30 p.m. March 4, Hillman Library, Thornburgh Room, part of the University Library System’s Faculty Book Talks

This practical book will help readers understand what STEAM is, how it differs from STEM, and how it can be used to engage students in K–8 classrooms. The authors present a conceptual model with recommendations and classroom examples illustrating various key aspects of STEAM teaching in action, including creating the correct teaching environment, integrating STEAM content, and supporting students as they develop STEAM-related skills. Q & A will follow. Refreshments will be provided.

Book news

Robert Brandom, professor of Philosophy, has been awarded the 2019 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for best book in the field of Romanticism studies for “A Spirit of Trust: A Reading of Hegel's Phenomenology.”


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.