Essayist to conduct virtual craft talk, reading in Fredonia writers series

Roger Coda
Aisha Sabatini Sloan

Aisha Sabatini Sloan

Aisha Sabatini Sloan, whose writing about race and current events is often coupled with analysis of art, film and pop culture, will give a nonfiction reading on Wednesday, Feb. 9, and craft talk, Thursday, Feb. 10, in the virtual Mary Louise White Visiting Writers Series at SUNY Fredonia.

The craft talk can be accessed online on Feb 9 at 7 p.m. The nonfiction reading from the book-length essay “Borealis” can be accessed online on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

In “Borealis,” Ms. Sloan, an assistant professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of Michigan, writes about glaciers, queer relationships, political anxiety and the meaning of Blackness in open space – all framed in the author’s experiences moving through the Alaskan outdoors. She observes shorelines, mountains, bald eagles and Black fellow travelers while feeling menaced by the specter of nature writing.

poster for event“Aisha’s essays are incredibly insightful, intelligent looks at race, culture, identity and are often interwoven with family. Her work blends the personal and the public, exploring art, music, politics, protest, and place through the lens of her own experiences,” said Department of English Assistant Professor Michael Sheehan.

In “Captioning the Archives: A Conversation in Photographs and Text,” Sloan presents two types of conversation: between father and daughter, arranged on the page as essay-dialogues; and between visual and written art, with her father Lester Sloan’s photographs serving as inspiration for the memoirist reflections paired with them, Mr. Sheehan explained.

“Aisha’s essays are also innovative, braiding together topics and ideas with beautiful language, lyricism, and voice,” Sheehan said.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sloan has a M.A. in Cultural Studies and Studio Art from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University and a M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona. She was a recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing and a 2021 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary.

Sloan is the author of two essay collections, “The Fluency of Light” and “Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit,” and the father-daughter collaboration “Captioning the Archives.”

The craft talk/reading series, free and open to the public, is supported by the Mary Louise White Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation.

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