University News

Literary Reading by Cuba Immigrant, Poet, Lecturer Olga Karman October 5 at WIU

September 22, 2006

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL - - Olga Karman, a Cuban immigrant and professor of liberal arts at D’Youville College (Buffalo, NY), will read from her new book “Scatter My Ashes Over Havana” (Pure Play Press, 2006) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 in Morgan Hall 101B on the Western Illinois University campus.

KarmanÂ’s visit and literary reading, which is open free to the public, is part of WesternÂ’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Olga Karman’s beautifully written book explores questions too familiar to those who lost their home and identity once, and started a never-ending quest to find their new definition of home and who they are,” said Western Illinois Physics Chair Vivian Incera, who, along with her husband Efrain Ferrer, a physics professor, are Cubans with their own dramatic stories of exile, escape and redefining life in the U.S.

“Olga is our best friend. I admire her as a friend, but also as the persona she is. Her readings are always unforgettable. I am very happy that we are bringing her to WIU to share her incredible life experiences with all of us,” Incera added.

“Scatter My Ashes Over Havana” deeply touches Karman’s personal and social history, including working as a hospital volunteer caring for wounded Rebel Army soldiers, becoming disillusioned with the revolution, immigrating to the United States to marry her American fiancé, struggling for new life in the U.S. and returning to visit her birth country after 37 years.

“Deeply felt and beautifully written, Olga Karman’s memoir undertakes a probing and unsentimental exploration of the high cost and moderate rewards of exile. A gem of a book!” Gustavo Perez Firmat, Columbia University Feinson Professor in the Humanities wrote in a review.

Karman, who was born in Havana of Cuban and American parents, earned her Ph.D. from Harvard (1976) then moved to Buffalo, NY to teach. In 1980 she joined the D’Youville College faculty; published her first book of poems, “Adios;” and became an active member of the Buffalo Hispanic community. Karman’s website – – includes personal and historical overview information as well as her poems, photos and other material.

Sponsors for KarmanÂ’s visit include WesternÂ’s College of Arts and Sciences; the departments of English and journalism, foreign languages and literatures, physics and WomenÂ’s Studies; Casa Latina Cultural Center; Women's Center; and Pure Play Press.

For more information, contact Incera at 309/298-1596.

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing