Germantown Friends School and Friends Free Library present a Spring Community Writers Series event on April 6 from 4 – 6 p.m., with authors and current GFS parents Erica Armstrong Dunbar, GFS class of ’90 and Kathy Van Cleve.

Dunbar and Van Cleve worked on an adaptation of Dunbar’s second book “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge” specifically for younger readers. This story helps tell the important story of Ona Judge, an enslaved woman who worked on George Washington’s plantation, to more audiences.

Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University. “Never Caught…” was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and a winner of the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

Dunbar’s op-eds have been published in outlets such as the New York Times, The Nation, TIME, Essence, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, her commentary has appeared in media outlets such as CNN and the LA Times, and her appearances in documentaries such as “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” as well as “The Abolitionists” an American Experience production on PBS, place her historical expertise in high demand.

Van Cleve is a Senior Lecturer in creative writing and film and media studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also working with novelist Wesley Stace on a film adaptation of his novel “Charles Jessold: Considered as a Murderer” and her own young adult book series, “Hurricane Ike.” Her middle grade novel, “Drizzle,” received reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books and won the Pennsylvania state students’ choice award for best middle grade novel.

For many years, she was the creative partner of actor and writer John Leguizamo, during which time she produced the films “Joe the King,” (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival), “Pinero,” (a Miramax release starring Benjamin Bratt) and “Undefeated” (an HBO film starring Leguizamo). She also worked with Steven Chbosky (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “Election” and “Downsizing”) and Frank Pugliese (showrunner for “House of Cards”).

Her other novels are “Cranberry Queen” (optioned by Miramax Films) and “The Difference Between You and Me.”

The event will take place in the Friends Free Library, 5418 Germantown Ave. Students and adults are very welcome! Light refreshments and book signing to follow.

RSVP preferred. Please email kgarrity@germantownfriends.org or call 215-951-2355.

 

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