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Acclaimed Author Newman to Keynote Indiana LGBT Film Festival, Speak at Six O’Clock Series

Lesléa Newman, author of October Mourning: The Matthew Shepard Story and Heather Has Two Mommies, will keynote the opening reception of the 10th annual Indiana LGBT Film Festival on Sunday, October 6, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. in Beard Auditorium, Stouffer Hall.

Newman is also the speaker for the Six O’Clock Series in the Ohio Room at the HUB on Monday, October 7, at 6:00 p.m.

Shortly before midnight on October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student attending the University of Wyoming, was kidnapped, robbed, brutally beaten, tied to a fence, and abandoned. Eighteen hours later, he was discovered by a biker and taken to a hospital, where he remained in a coma for five days until he died, with his family by his side.

Newman arrived at the University of Wyoming on October 12 to give a keynote speech for Gay Awareness Week. She found a devastated campus and community. Her book, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, tells the story of the impact of Matthew’s murder in 68 poems that speak in the voices of the silent witnesses to this horrendous hate crime: the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, a deer that kept him company, his stolen shoes, and the cold Wyoming wind.

In the Six O'Clock Series presentation, “He Continues to Make a Difference,” Newman will use poetry, photographs, and creative visualization, to remind audience members that we all can—and must—make a difference to create a safe world for everyone.

In addition to these two main events, Newman will be a guest workshop leader in classes in the departments of Sociology and English on Monday and Tuesday, October 7 and 8. Copies of her books will be available for sale at the opening night of the LGBT Film Festival and at the Six O’Clock Series, and Newman will hold book signings at each event.

Sponsors of the author’s mini-residence at IUP include the GLBT Commission, the Six O’Clock Series, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Indiana Cares Campaign, and the Department of English.

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