Alex Kotlowitz to Deliver Michael Lester Wendt Character Lecture

Sep 5, 2019 | University Relations staff

Photo credit: Kathy Richland

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz will present the Michael Lester Wendt Character Lecture at 7:00 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center on the University of Dubuque campus.

The lecture, titled “Bearing Witness: Storytelling and Human Rights,” is free to attend and open to the public. Kotlowitz argues that we need to tell stories honestly and ethically, maintaining the integrity of those whose stories we are telling.

For over three decades, Kotlowitz has brought an acute and empathetic lens to on-the-ground reporting in various forms of media including print and radio journalism, documentary film, and books. He is known for his unflinching portrayals of race and poverty in America.

Kotlowitz’s book There Are No Children Here, which tells the story of two boys growing up in a Chicago public housing project, was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century. His latest book, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, offers a spellbinding collection of profiles of people and communities touched by gun violence. Kotlowitz also examined the persistence of urban violence in The Interrupters, an Emmy Award-winning documentary that was a collaboration with Hoop Dreams director Steve James.

Written Inside, a podcast created by Kotlowitz, brings to life essays by men incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center – a maximum security state prison in Crest Hill, Illinois. These intimate stories illuminate the day-to-day experience of incarceration. Five of the essays were also published online by The New Yorker.

Kotlowitz’s work has appeared on This American Life and in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and Granta. He is a senior lecturer and writer-in-residence at Northwestern University. His work is widely read in programs focusing on social work, education, psychology, urban affairs, race, housing issues, and journalism.

The lecture is presented by UD’s Wendt Center for Character Education.