UAH Women’s Studies Program sponsors nationally recognized author Lesléa Newman


Nationally recognized feminist writer, poet and human rights activist Lesléa (pronounced "Lez-LEE-uh") Newman will give an anti-bullying presentation for high school, college and adult audiences next month on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Her talk entitled "He Continues to Make a Difference: The Story of Matthew Shepard," will be presented on Wednesday, November 28, at 7:30 p.m., in the university's Chan Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student from the University of Wyoming was brutally murdered in 1998. Newman will use her address to promote tolerance, understanding, and an acceptance of diversity among all people. Immediately following the presentation there will be a book signing and reception.

On Thursday, November 29, at 11:10 a.m., Newman will offer a reading and presentation, geared specifically for students, called "The Gender Dance: Picture Books that Challenge Stereotypes," as part of the UAH Honors Forum lecture series in the Shelby Center for Science and Technology room 107. The presentation is open to the public.

In 1998, when Newman arrived at The University of Wyoming (UW) to give a keynote speech, she found a devastated college campus and community. Six days prior to Newman's visit, Matthew Shepard a student at UW was kidnapped, robbed, brutally beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. Shepard was found the next day, taken to a hospital and remained in a coma for five days until he died. Newman's book, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard tells the story of the impact of Matthew's murder in poems. Newman has received many literary awards including poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and three Pushcart Prize Nominations. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists.

A prolific writer of adult and children's publications, Newman is the author of more than 60 books including the newly releasedOctober Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (September 2012);

Hachiko Waits; Eating Our Hearts Out: Personal Accounts of Women's Relationship to Food; Still Life With Buddy; A Sweet Passover; and her best known children's book, Heather Has Two Mommies.

Co-sponsors for Leslea Newman's visit to UAH include the Office of Student Affairs (as part of its SafeZone program), the Office of Diversity, the Honors Program, the Humanities Center, POWER (the Women's Studies student organization), the UAH Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Student Sociological Association. Community partners include the Alabama Writer's Forum, the Interfaith Mission Service, the Interweave group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville, GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services and Temple B'nai Sholom. For more information, please call Erin Reid at 256.824.6190 or email


Ray Garner