Lesléa Newman ~ writer ~

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Lesléa Newman is available to come to your college campus, conference or community to present the following:





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He Continues To Make A Difference:
The Story of Matthew Shepard

This program uses poetry, photographs, and creative visualization to explore the impact of Matthew Shepard's murder on the world. In 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, robbed, beaten, and murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. Lesléa Newman was the keynote speaker for Gay Awareness Week at the University of Wyoming that year, and arrived on campus the day that Matthew Shepard died from this horrendous hate crime. She spoke to a devastated campus and community, and vowed to work to erase hate from that day forward. Her forthcoming book, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard explores the impact of Matt's murder in a cycle of 68 poems. Written as fictional monologues in a variety of voices including the fence Matt was tied to, the stars that watched over him, and the doe who kept him company, this powerful presentation challenges audience members to look deep inside themselves and find a way to make a difference to create a safe world for everyone.

How Can You Be a Lesbian? You're Jewish!
A reading from Lesléa Newman's work which addresses being a lesbian and being a Jew, including her award-winning story, "A Letter to Harvey Milk," which was recently read on National Public Radio by Carl Reiner as part of the series Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New, and which was the second place finalist in the Raymond Carver short story competition.

The Gender Dance: Picture Books that Challenge Stereotypes
As the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, Lesléa Newman knows how crucial it is for children to see themselves and families like theirs portrayed in literature in order to build self-esteem. In this lively discussion, Lesléa Newman presents children's books that challenge the worn-out notion that little girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice" and little boys are made of "snips and snails and puppy dog tails". Starting with The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Mahtama Ghandi's favorite children's book!) and working up to 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert, the first picture book to star a transgendered child, Lesléa Newman will discuss children's book that reflect a wide variety of gender expression. Other works that will be discussed include Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole, "X: A Fabulous Child's Story" by Lois Gould, William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotov, and King and King by Linda de Haan.

Heather's Mommies Get Married
Homophobia, Censorship and Family Values". Lesléa Newman discusses her classic children's book, Heather Has Two Mommies: why she wrote the book, how difficult it was to get it published, the controversies that arose as it became one of the most controversial books ever published. She then discusses the rights of gay and lesbian families and delves into the history of the LGBT marriage movement. Includes a slide show (with photos from Lesléa's own wedding!) and video.

Poetry = Life: an AIDS Reading
Lesléa Newman will read from her book "Still Life With Buddy," a novel told in fifty poems about the passionate friendship between a lesbian and a gay man living with aids. This work earned Ms. Newman a creative writing fellow-ship from the "National Endowment for the Arts." Reading also includes other work about AIDS, including the story, "What Ever Happened to Baby Fane?"


"Lesléa's presentation, "He Continues to Make a Difference: The Story of Matthew Shepard" - is not to be missed. If you wish to expose your students or your community to poetry of the finest quality, a message of depth and kindness, and an experience that will remain with them forever, book Lesléa Newman today."
[Sara Barber-Just, English Teacher, Amherst Regional High School, Amherst, MA]
"I am not sure I can adequately express the impact your presentations had on our entire student body at Northampton High School. Both students and faculty were powerfully affected by your poems, your story and your call to make a difference in the world. My expectation is that many of the staff will use your presentation to further classroom discussions about our responsibilities to each other, the history of bigotry and hatred and other topics emanating from your talk. Your presentations I hope will lead to a school-wide understanding of the impact we each have on others’ lives and will help us hasten the day when bullying and hatred end in our schools." [Jon Sass, Teacher, and GSA Advisor, Northampton High School, Northampton MA]
"I anticipated that Ms. Newman would appeal to some very specific student constituences: English majors, would-be creative writers, Jewish students, members of our feminist and LGBT groups. Certainly Ms. Newman's visit profoundly energized and empowered these student populations. However, given that most every sentence she utters reveals Ms. Newman to be a wordsmith with a fine mind and a good heart, she also appealed to students (and colleagues) who don't normally respond well to words such as "English," "literature," "feminism," "Jewish," or "lesbian." Indeed, Ms. Newman's visit in general and her reading in particular became a real community-building event for the campus. In short, Ms. Newman's wide-ranging gifts and her consummate professionalism make her an ideal campus visitor." [Helene Meyers, Professor of English at the Southwestern University]
"Thank you very much for your recent presentation at Ithaca College. It contributed much to the Jewish cultural life of our campus. Your reading of various poems and stories including "A Letter to Harvey Milk" was deeply touching, seriously thought provoking, and at times very funny. As expected, your work attracted a diverse crowd of students, faculty and guests: 'queer,' 'straight,' Jewish, writers and many others. your representation of authentic voices, holocaust survivors, Jewish grandmothers and grandfathers, Jewish lesbians and the child of a lesbian mother proved meaningful to all. The success of the event, and the work leading up to it helped to cement a close collaboration with the campus LGBT center. it has also helped to demonstrate Hillel's mission to be a welcoming environment to all students." [Aron Gutman, Program Director, Hillel at Ithaca College]
"I am writing to thank and commend you for your outstanding presentation on "Heather's Mommy Speaks Out: Homophobia, Censorship and Family Values." Although it has been a week since your visit, I am still receiving daily phone calls and comments regarding your talk. ALL feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One faculty member expressed that she wished she had required all of her students to attend. Your presentation was insightful, powerful, touching and informative. Also impressive was how you use humor, stories, readings and multimedia to create an engaging program that is accessible to everyone in the audience. Again, thank you for sharing your time and expertise." [Kelli Zaytun Byrne, Director, Women's Center, Wright State University]
"The program was extremely well-received. Ms. Newman read from her numerous works and then entertained questions candidly and with humor. She is a thoughtful writer with wonderful insight. She is inclusive in both her written and spoken word. Students, faculty and staff who were present are still bringing her name up as one of our best speakers this semester."  [Kathleen M. Flannery, Dean of Students, Manhattanville College]
"Two weeks after the event, the verdict is unanimous: all concerned agreed that you brought to the campus not only considerable personal charm, but a new level of awareness of numerous gay-related issues. And the student and faculty turnout at each scheduled event, a full house on two different occasions, was beyond our expectations."  [Fred Richter, University of Southern Georgia]
"As the keynote speech for our Lesbian Gay Bisexual Awareness Week 1994, we were hoping to feature a speaker who could raise awareness about homophobia among a broad, diverse group of people. Ms. Newman did exactly that--combining political insight, human experience, and irony into a powerful and humorous presentation. Ms. Newman has excellent poise as a speaker, and she adeptly handled some provocative questions from the audience." [Jennifer B., Handler, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance         Coordinator, Princeton University]

"Ms. Newman recently visited our campus and spoke to a crowd of over 400 students. Her wit, charm and strong presence was captivating, and the information provided was timely and relevant to the struggles of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexuals on campus. I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Newman as she openly and honestly addressed the crowd, riveting them to their seats with her words."  
[J. Kenneth Koch, Resident Director, Campus Activities Assistant, SUNY Oneonta]

Appearances Poetry By The Sea Conference, Madison, CT - Stonewall Educational Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Portland Public Library, Portland, ME - Arne Nixon Center For Children’s Literature, Fresno, CA - Powerhouse Books, Brooklyn, NY - Jewish Public Library, Montreal, Canada - Macduffie School, Granby, MA - Florida Council of Teachers of English Conference, Lake Mary, FL - University of South Florida, Tampa, FL - Berea College, Berea KY - University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Washington, DC - Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA - Indiana University of Pennsylvania - New England Library Association Conference - University of Pittsburgh, Bradford Campus - Southern California Teachers of English Conference - New York Institute of Technology, Westbury, NY - University of New England - Waynflete Academy, Portland, ME - Peaks Island Public Library - University of Alberta Visiting Human Rights Lectureship - Creating Change Conference - Northampton Williston Academy - Greater Boston PFLAG - True Colors Conference - Jericho High School, Jericho, NY - Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT - New England Librarian Conference - New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference - Massachusetts Poetry Festival - Brattleboro Literary Festival - Skokie Public Library - National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference - Appalachian State University, Boone, NC - University of Alabama in Huntsville - State University of New York at New Paltz - The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, NY - Northampton Williston School, Easthampton, MA - Shreiber High School, Port Washington, NY - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators New England Conference - Greater Boston Area PFLAG - Peak's Island Public Library, Peak's Island, ME - Jericho High School, Jericho, NY - Rainbow Book Fair, New York, NY - True Colors Conference, Storrs, CT - Creating Change Conference - Nehirim, Jewish LGBT Student Retreat, Boston, MA - LGBT World Conference, Winnipeg, CANADA - Radford University Virginia - Michigan State University - Quinnipiac College - Landmark College - Temple Israel, W. Bloomfield, MI - Ohio University - The Ohio State University - Ithaca College - Wells College - St. Joseph's University - Bucknell University - Brown University - North Dakota State University - New Hampshire State Librarians Conference - UCLA, Los Angeles, CA - Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX - University of Illinois at Chicago - Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA - Washington Univeristy, St. Louis, MO - Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH - Marshall University, Huntington, WV - Bryant College, Smithfield, RI - Vermont State Librarian Conference, Burlington, VT - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN - Dartmouth College - New York State Librarians Association - Louisiana Librarian Association Conference - Westfield State College - St. Lawrence College - Bates College - University of Florida - Colorado State University - University of Oregon - Portland State University - University of Delaware - University of Iowa - Wellesley College - Westminister College - Florida State University - University of West Virginia - University of Colorado at Boulder - Congregation Ohav Shalom (Albany, NY) - Keene State College - Jewish Community Association of Austin, TX - Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center (Newton, MA) - Pennsylvania College of Technology - Rowe Conference Center - Bradley University - Kent State University - Wright State University - Barnard College - Kansas State University - Ramapo College - University of North Dakota - Central Connecticut State University - Middlesex Community College - Johns Hopkins University - Tufts University - New Jersey Library Association Conference (Keynote speaker) - University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana - Kutztown University - Kansas University - Northampton High School - Youngstown University (Shermer Scholar- in-Residence) - National Writers Conference - University of Wyoming - Fordham University - Columbia University - University of Rhode Island - Portland State University - Wesleyan University - Bowdoin College - University of Southern Maine - Haverford College - Williams College - State University of New York at Cortland - Salem State College - The College of Staten Island - Massachusetts Library Association - Montel Williams Show - Jenny Jones Show - Word is Out - Greater Boston Business Council - The Writer's Voice of Scottsdale, Arizona - Harvard University - Lewis and Clark College - Princeton University - Smith College - State University of New York at Oswego - University of Minnesota - University of Vermont - University of Wisconsin - State University of New York at Oneonta - Rowe Conference Center - Indiana State University - Grinnell College - Beloit College - Lesley College - Georgia Southern University - University of Nevada - Passaic County Community College, Distinguished Poets Series - National Association of College Activities - National Women's Studies Association Conference - Ball State University - Texas A&M University - Florida International University - St. Mark's Poetry Project - Hoboken Arts Celebration - Trinity College - WOW Café - Congregation Beth Simchat Torah - Congregation Or Chadash - Printer's Row Book Fair - Manhattanville College - University of Judaism - Alaska Pride Conference - Homophobia and Public Life Conference - University of Massachusetts - Poetry on the Loose - In Our Own Write - Cabrillo College - Outwrite Lesbian and Gay Writers Conference - Am Tikva - Mt. Holyoke College - Outspoken Literary Series - Telling Tales: Brookline Library Reading Series - Hobart & Willam Smith Colleges - University of Louisville - Queens Borough Public Library - University of Connecticut - Boston University - Butch Femme Society - Albany Medical Center - New York University - Amherst College - Hampshire College - Marsh Chapel Poetry Series - Olivet College - Penn State University - DIFFA western Mass. - Bailiwick Theatre - National Women's Music Festival - Worcester Gay and Lesbian Pride - Perspectives in Children's Literature Conference - Earlham College - Greenfield Community College - Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay College Conference - State University of New York at Geneseo - Pittsburg State University - Western Michigan University - Valparaiso University - University of New Hampshire - Metroplitan State College - University of Memphis

Contact Info Lesléa Newman
Email: leslea@lesleakids.com

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