March 14, 2009
STARKVILLE -- The French novelist who recently received one of the world''s most prestigious honors comes to Mississippi State University later this month for a week of public lectures, meetings with students and book signings, along with a personal immersion in Southern culture.
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, winner in December of the Nobel Prize in Literature, visits the university March 28-April 5 for his only public appearance while in the United States.
Le Clezio will present a 7:30 p.m. public lecture Monday, March 30, in Lee Hall auditorium. He also will spend considerable time during the week with students in French and English literature classes, and in the Shackouls Honors College.
His other public events include a 4-6 p.m. book signing Sunday, March 29, in Barnes & Noble at the MSU Bookstore and a 2-4 p.m. reception March 30 in the Foster Ballroom of Colvard Student Union.
Le Clezio was born in 1940 in Nice, France, and was first published at age 23. Known for his prolific and wide-ranging works, he was praised by the Nobel Swedish Academy as the "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization."
The writer''s Mississippi visit is due, in large measure, to Keith Moser, an MSU alumnus who now is assistant professor of foreign languages on campus. A Le Clezio scholar who secured the visit through a personal encounter, Moser describes the author as "modest, easily approachable and extremely fluent in English."
A 2002 MSU master''s degree graduate, Moser is the author of a 2008 book titled "''Privileged Moments'' in the Novels and Short Stories of J.M.G. Le Clezio: His Contemporary Development of a Traditional French Literary Device." He also has made numerous scholastic presentations about the author.
Le Clezio''s first novel, translated as "The Interrogation," won the Prix Renaudo, a French literary award. His 1980 novel "Desert" received the Grand Prix Paul Morand, presented biannually by the French Academy.
The author spent time as a child in Nigeria, where his father was a doctor. His writings through five decades reflect travels and residencies in countries ranging from Mauritius, where he maintains a home, to Panama, Thailand and Mexico. He also has a New Mexico home.
"Having a Nobel laureate on our campus is an extraordinary honor for Mississippi State University and the state of Mississippi," said Gary Myers, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
"Mr. Le Clezio''s visit will provide students, scholars and serious readers an unparalleled access to one of the world''s great contemporary writers," Myers added.
In addition to the arts and sciences college and its foreign languages department, the writer''s Mississippi visit is also sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.