Amy Tan Keynote Speaker for Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Initiative - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038



Program stresses interdisciplinary teaching of the arts with performances, lectures

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – March 30, 2011 – Acclaimed author Amy Tan will present a highly personal talk on women, creativity and the arts and humanities when she discusses “Maybe She Was Born With It?” as the featured speaker at this year’s Cornerstone Arts Initiative at Colorado College.

Tan will speak at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 13, in the South Theatre at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., on the Colorado College campus. The event is free and open to the public, and doors open at 7 p.m.

Born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China, Tan rejected her mother’s expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist, choosing instead to write fiction. She is the author of many bestselling novels, including “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Kitchen God’s Wife,” “The Hundred Secret Senses,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “Saving Fish from Drowning.” She also is the author of a memoir, “The Opposite of Fate,”two children’s books, numerous short stories and essays and wrote the libretto for “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” which had its world premiere with the San Francisco Opera in September 2008.

She served as co-producer and co-screenwriterfor the film adaptation of “The Joy Luck Club” andwas the creative consultant for “Sagwa,” the Emmy-nominated PBS television series for children, which has aired worldwide, including in the U.K., Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Singapore.  Her story in the New Yorker, “Immortal Heart,” was performed on stages throughout the U.S. and in France. Her essays and stories are found in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks, and are required reading in many high schools and universities. Her work has been translated into 35 languages, including Spanish, French, Finnish, Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew. 

Tan, who is truly representative of the interdisciplinary arts, appeared as herself in “The Simpsons” and serves as lead rhythm dominatrix, backup singer and second tambourine with the literary garage band,the “Rock Bottom Remainders,” whose members include Stephen King, Dave Barry and Scott Turow. In spite of their dubious talent, their yearly gigs have managed to raise more than a million dollars for literacy programs.

“Maybe She Was Born With It?” is the Cornerstone Keynote Lecture for 2011 and is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship in Teaching. This is the 10th year Colorado College has hosted the Cornerstone Arts Initiative, which is a program that stresses interdisciplinary teaching of the arts, using technology to facilitate collaboration between departments. Cornerstone Arts events spotlight a question chosen by arts faculty and students, and is reinforced by special guests, performances and interdisciplinary courses.

Other events addressing 2011 question, “Maybe She Was Born With It?” have included a lecture by leading feminist, curator, writer and activist Lucy Lippard titled “Bad Girls, Good Times: Feminist Art and May Stevens”; a performance by Feminism + Co. titled “GenY”; a Joan Braderman film, “The Heretics”; and an I.D.E.A. Space installation, “May Stevens: Crossing Time.” Additionally, Tan will visit several classes while she is on the Colorado College campus.

Past years’ Cornerstone Arts topics have been addressed in events and lectures including “Is There Democracy in the Arts?” by cultural critic and author Martha Bayles and former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky; “Is There a Gay Aesthetic of the Arts?” by O. Henry Prize-winning author Bernard Cooper with lesbian and gay theater artists Peggy Shaw and Tim Miller; “Is Nothing Sacred?” by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison; “What’s So American About the American Musical?” with Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski, theater scholar/author Laurence Maslon and conductor/music director Michael Kosarin; “What is the Legacy of Modernism?” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Menand; “Religion and the Public Arts: Why Be Afraid?” by Camille Paglia; "Is the Media at War with the Arts?" by Sandra Bernhard; “What Do We Mean By ‘Performance Studies’?” by Richard Schechner; and last year, “Where Are the Intersections of Art, Culture and Politics?” with playwrights David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 2,025 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.