Cover of the digital edition of Vanity Fair magazine's September 2020 issue, featuring a photo of Angela Davis
Angela Davis ’65

A portrait of activist and scholar Angela Davis ’65, taken in July by photographer Deana Lawson outside Davis’ home in Oakland, California, appeared on the cover of the digital edition of Vanity Fair’s September issue. The cover accompanied an interview filmmaker Ava DuVernay conducted with Davis, who’s been at the center of the struggle for social justice for more than 50 years. “This moment is a conjuncture between the COVID-19 crisis and the increasing awareness of the structural nature of racism,” Davis says in the article. “Moments like this do arise. They’re totally unpredictable, and we cannot base our organizing on the idea that we can usher in such a moment. What we can do is take advantage of the moment.”

“The Book of Life and Death,” short fiction by Grace Talusan, was selected to be the focus of the Boston Book Festival’s One City One Story effort, which creates a shared reading experience for Greater Boston residents. This year, the book festival was held virtually from Oct. 5-25; printed copies of Talusan’s story, which explores themes related to privilege, identity, migration and belonging, were distributed at locations around the city. Talusan, born in the Philippines and raised in New England, is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis.

New York City-based actress Michelle Miller ’11 is the creator and host of the podcast “Mentors on the Mic,” which presents interviews with entertainment-industry executives. Many of the interviewees are Brandeis alums, including Adina Pitt ’92, a vice president at Cartoon Network, and Kerri Berney ’97, director of multiplatform and strategic research at NBCUniversal Media.

In August, a poem by Hannah Perrin King ’14 earned the Georgia Review’s Loraine Williams Poetry Prize; “Transcript of My Mother’s Sleeptalk: Chincoteague” will appear in the journal’s Spring 2021 issue. King has also won Narrative Magazine’s poetry contest, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Kurt Brown Prize for Poetry, and the New Millennium Award for Poetry, and her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Cincinnati Review and The Adroit Journal, among other publications.

A CD of compositions by Harold Shapero was released in August. “Harold Shapero: Orchestral Works” features performances by pianist Vivian Choi and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, with Gil Rose conducting. One of the works, “On Green Mountain,” premiered at the 1957 Brandeis Festival of the Arts. Shapero, who taught music theory and composition at Brandeis for 37 years, died in 2013 at age 93.

Emily Eng ’10 is the executive director of the LIFT Music Fund, launched to help Black, Latinx and Native American student musicians pay for incidental expenses associated with their musical training (a set of cello strings can cost $250, for instance, and private lessons can run from $50-$100 an hour). The fund also provides information and community support to help students establish and flourish in their music careers. Eng is working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at the University of Georgia.

As part of the Women’s Caucus meeting at the Democratic National Convention this summer, Japonica Brown, MFA’11, recited her poem “That’s Something To Be.” The first lines of the poem are “We are hope, / A well of water that feeds all that’s around us.” Brown is an author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and school counselor in Mobile, Alabama.