Author Helen Benedict Reading at Opalka Oct. 23

October 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

Helen Benedict to Read from Her Novel Sand Queen

Author and journalist Helen Benedict will read from her new novel Sand Queen on Sunday, October 23 at 4 p.m. at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage College of Albany campus. The reading, hosted by The Sage Colleges in collaboration with the Creative Arts Therapy Program, the Center for Documentary Arts, and Women Against War, is held in conjunction with the exhibit Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan, a traveling exhibit of 25 murals depicting the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of artists around the world. The exhibit will be on display at the Opalka Gallery, on Sage’s Albany campus, October 22-23, and at the Schacht Fine Arts Center on the Troy campus, October 24-28.

Helen Benedict's reading is free and open to the public.

Sand Queen follows two women whose lives intersect at the beginning of the Iraq War. Kate Brady is a 19-year-old US soldier stationed at a make-shift prison in the Iraqi desert, and Naema Jassim is an Iraqi medical student fighting to keep her family intact. Kate, the book’s heroine, joined the Army to bring honor to her family, but instead finds herself threatened both by the prisoners she guards and the men she serves with. Sand Queen exposes the brutality, hardship, and humiliation faced by women in the US military, while also revealing the humor and courage women on both sides of the battlefield use to endure war’s violence and destruction.

Benedict will conduct a seminar on women in war the following day, October 24, at 11 a.m. in Bush Memorial, on the Russell Sage College campus in Troy. The seminar is also opened to the public. 

Pulitzer Prize novelist Robert Olen Butler praised Sand Queen as, “an important book by one our finest literary artists.”

Benedict is author of five previous novels and five books of nonfiction, and is a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her 2009 nonfiction book The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, roused alarm in the Pentagon and Congress with its descriptions of the physical and emotional distress women face the military. Following the book’s publication, Benedict testified twice before Congress on behalf of women soldiers.

Benedict’s appearance was arranged through the Center for Documentary Arts as part of its “New Narrative Project,” an ongoing series of film screenings, readings, and artist appearances. The Center for Documentary Arts, which is hosted by The Sage Colleges, is a not-for-profit cultural organization founded to raise humanitarian awareness and foster compassion.

For additional info, please contact Leigh Davis,  518-244-2437

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