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Letters from LA's Distant Past, Robotics Discussed at SMC's Spring Literary Talks & Readings Series

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Lookout Staff

February 25, 2019 -- Santa Monica College's 18th annual Spring Literary Talks & Readings series kicks off Tuesday with author Dana Johnson reading selections from her short story collection.

The free series ends May 9 when David Kipen reads from his book "Dear Los Angeles: A Portrait in Diaries and Letters," which traces the city's history from 1542 using personal documents.

Mataric and robot
Robots take center stage on Tuesday, April 23 when award-winning robotics designer Maja Mataric presents "Creating Robots that Care" (Courtesy USC)

The series, which features distinguished authors discussing and reading from their works, is held on the main SMC campus, 1900 Pico Boulevard.

The series continues next Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. in Art 214 with a presentation by Adam Winkler titled "We the Corporations: Adam Winkler Explains How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights."

A specialist in American constitutional law and the Supreme Court, Winkler has and appeared as a commentator on major news shows to address legal issues.

The author of the 2011 book "Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America," Winkler has been cited in landmark Supreme Court cases on the First and Second Amendments.

On Wednesday, March 27, award-winning novelist and children’s advocate Nina Revoyr reads excerpts from her recent novel, "A Student of History," at 6:30 p.m. in Humanities & Social Sciences Lecture Hall 104.

The novel "explores the early and present-day dynamics of race and class in Los Angeles through the eyes of a young man navigating a world where he does not belong," series organizers said.

The series continues Tuesday, April 18, with "Surreal Borderlines & Portals to Awareness," live poetry readings by Mario Padilla and a "noteworthy spectrum of writers" at 11:15 a.m. in Stromberg Hall.

Readers include David Burak, Eleni Hioureas, Grace Smith and a selection of SMC students, organizers said.

Robots take center stage on Tuesday, April 23 when Maja Mataric an award-winning robotics designer presents "Creating Robots that Care" at 11:15 a.m. in Science 140.

Mataric's research "focuses on developing robot-assisted therapies for children with autism spectrum disorders, stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, and individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia," organizers said.

A professor and the Chan Soon-Shiong chair in the USC Computer Science Department and Department of Pediatrics, Mataric is the author of the introductory robotics textbook "The Robotics Primer (2007)."

The series concludes Thursday, May 9 with Kipen's readings from "Dear Los Angeles: A Portrait in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018" at 11:15 a.m. in Art 214.

Kipen is a former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts, book editor/critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and contributor to multiple volumes of California cultural history.

The SMC Literary Talks & Readings series has brought to campus such acclaimed writers as Khaled Hosseini (author of the bestselling "The Kite Runner"), Steph Cha (writer of the popular "Juniper Son" novels), Audrey Niffenegger (author of the bestselling "Time Traveler’s Wife") and Jonathan Safran Foer (author of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close").

For more information call the SMC Office of Public Programs at 310-434-4100.

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