FRIDAY

Like Xtabai, the mestizo temptress of Belizean mythology, writer Zee Edgell has the power to seduce. Although lurking behind cotton trees in the midnight hour to lead drunken men, enchanted by her beauty, to their dark doom isn’t quite her style, Edgell’s ability to flaunt a pen to relate the richly diverse cultural experiences of Belize’s people is equally magnetic to her readers. Her novels are known to create a place where women can assert themselves—politically and economically, but also sensually and intellectually. From adolescent Beka, to middle-aged Luz Marina, the female protagonists of Beka Lamb (1982), In Times Like These (1991), and The Festival of San Joaquin (1997) are at the forefront of a newly independent Belizean society. Edgell explores educational opportunities for women and the trials of domestic violence with an appeal that crosses international boundaries. Her first book, Beka Lamb (1982), won the Fawcett Society Book Prize in 1983 and was the first novel by a Belizean to reach an international audience. But Edgell herself is by no means sheltered. Before accepting a teaching position at Kent State University in Ohio, her travels to Jamaica, England, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Somalia, and the U.S., served as opportunities to champion community activism and women’s rights on several global commissions. Experience the allure of an author who practices what she preachers when Edgell reads from and discusses her works at 7 p.m. at George Washington University’s Funger Hall, Rm. 108, 2201 G St. NW. Free. (301) 294-9555. (Ayesha Morris).

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