September 29, 2003
Acclaimed author and journalist Pico Iyer to
speak at UCSC
By Scott Rappaport
Acclaimed author and travel writer Pico Iyer will present a free public
lecture, Sunday, October 12, at 4 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall
on the UCSC campus.
has described Pico Iyer as the poet laureate of wanderlust."
Iyer's lecture will be followed by a viewing of Devi, and
an appearance by the film's star, Sharmila Tagore, below.
Iyer will speak on the topic: Islam and California: A Cultural
Romance. A no-host Indian dinner will be offered after the address,
followed by a screening of the classic Satyajit Ray film Devi
at 6:30 p.m.
Actress Sharmila Tagore, star of the film, will appear in person after
the screening to answer questions from the audience.
Pico Iyer has worked as a writer for Time magazine since 1982,
and his articles appear often in Harpers, the New York
Review of Books, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated,
and Conde Nast Traveler. He is the author of numerous books,
including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, Falling
Off the Map, The Global Soul, Tropical Classical, and Abandon.
Literary Quarterly described Iyer as the poet laureate
of wanderlust. His perennial subject is the strange confluences and
poignant idiosyncrasies born of our worlds dissolving borders,
and he explores it with a rich mixture of astonishing erudition and
Iyer will appear at UCSC as part of the third Sidhartha Maitra Memorial
Lecture and Film Screening, an annual event presented by the universitys
Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection.
The lecture series was established by Anuradha Luther Maitra in honor
of her husband, who was a scientist, entrepreneur, and admirer of the
late Indian film directors work. The Satyajit Ray Film and Study
Collection was founded in 1993 to acquire, preserve, and provide scholarly
access to Rays films, papers, books, and artwork.
Maitra said she was inspired to bring Iyer to UCSC after attending
a recent reading of his latest novel, Abandon. The book explores
the misconceptions that occur when cultures collide.
"I have long been a fan of his writing" Maitra said. "Ive
read his books and columns over the years and have attended a number
of his readings. He has always impressed me with his kind and gentle
approach, and the controlled crisp articulation of his thoughts. The
general tone of his novels--an adventurous exploration of different
cultures and the certain discovery of intersections between them--is
consistent with my vision for the lecture series.
Maitra also selected the film to be screened after Iyers lecture.
"I have a few favorite Satyajit Ray films," she said. "Last
year we showed my absolute favorite-Charulata. This year's film,
Devi (The Goddess), is another favorite. It's very complex and
full of mystical ideas--it's just a beautiful film."
Sharmila Tagore, one of Indias premier actresses, will make her
first appearance at UC Santa Cruz to field questions from the audience
after the screening of Devi. Although Tagore acted in the 1960
movie when she was just a teenage girl, famed New Yorker film
critic Pauline Kael described her role in the film as exquisite
is perfect, a word I do not use casually.
"Sharmila Tagore is still one of India's most glamorous stars,"
Maitra noted. "She is beautiful and charming, intellectually alive,
and politically alert.
I cant wait to see her, Maitra added, but Im
even more anxious to have a conversation with her.
For more information about the 2003 Sidhartha Maitra Memorial Lecture,
call (831) 459-4012 or check online.
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