Skip to main content

Acclaimed Author Aimee Nezhukumatathil Speaking at Humanities Symposium

Loyola University Maryland Celebrating Nature

Best-selling author and poet, Aimee Nezhukumatathil will deliver the keynote address at the Loyola University Maryland 2024 Humanities Symposium.

Free and open to the general public as well as the region’s academic communities, the lecture takes place Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m., in McGuire Hall. Immediately after the lecture, Nezhukumatathil will participate in a book signing with books available for purchase.

About the Author
Aimee Nezhukumatathil authored the illustrated collection of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks & Other Astonishments, which garnered praise including Barnes and Noble Book of the Year, New York Times Bestseller, Kirkus Prize Finalist for Nonfiction and An NPR Best Book of 2020.

Combining an exploration of natural phenomena (lightning bugs, the cactus flower, the narwhal, monsoons) with memoir, these essays celebrate the wonders of nature and encourage readers to slow down, notice, marvel at and protect the environment. They also draw on the author’s experiences growing up in the United States as a person of color and daughter of immigrants. 

Nezhukumatathil also wrote four previous poetry collections including Oceanic. Her most recent chapbook is Lace & Pyrite, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Additional honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. In addition to serving as poetry editor for Sierra magazine, the story-telling arm of The Sierra Club, she is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. Her forthcoming book of food essays, Bite By Bite, releases in May 2024.

About the Keynote
The keynote address, "Remembering Wonder: A Reckoning,” will share reasons for—and remembrances of—the importance of maintaining wonder and curiosity in our lives, what's at stake when we ignore wonder, and how contagious sharing our moments of wonder can be.

“We invite people to celebrate the wonders of the natural world and strengthen their own connections to nature,” said Marian Crotty, Ph.D., Humanities Symposium director and associate professor of writing. “By slowing down and truly noticing the fascinating animals and plants in our world, we hope our students will feel a sense of wonder and joy that will inspire them to protect our environment.”

“Although signs of a climate crisis are all around us, many people are resistant to hearing the warnings or feel powerless to create lasting change,” she added. “We hope this event will leave people feeling inspired to reconnect with nature and empowered to protect it. 

Admission is free, but advance registration is encouraged. To reserve seating, visit the Humanities Symposium event site, email, or call 410-617-2617.

About the Symposium
Since 1986, Loyola’s Center for the Humanities has sponsored the annual Humanities Symposium, a series of events related to a particular text for students, faculty, friends of the University, and the Baltimore community. The main goal has been to get a large portion of the Loyola community to read the same work at roughly the same time and to be engaged in a common inquiry. Keynote speakers have included Elie Wiesel, Toni Morrison, Tracy Chevalier, Czeslaw Milosz, Phil Klay, Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, and William Bennett.

The keynote address will cap off a month of Loyola faculty workshops, student-faculty colloquia and activities following the World of Wonders text, in conjunction with the theme of “Celebrating Nature.” The Symposium also complements the Baltimore Environmental Film Series at Loyola University Maryland, which was created by Elizabeth Dahl, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, to merge the art of film with education and advocacy for those affected by the major environmental issues of the time.

This year’s films are:

  • Feb. 7 – Screening of “The Falconer” and “Wood Hood” in connection with Black History Month – discussion with local African-American environmental leaders
  • March 20 – Screening of “Clear Day Thunder: Rescuing the American Chestnut” – discussion led by David Gordon, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of philosophy
  • April 11 – Screening of “The Letter” – discussion led by Bernadette Roche, Ph.D., associate professor of biology

For more details about the series or to reserve tickets, visit the Film Studies event site.

About the Center
The Center for the Humanities was established in 1983 through the generosity of many donors and of the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide strength and vision to the humanities at Loyola University Maryland. It offers lectures, lectures series and fine arts performances; other forms of research support for both faculty and students, and various forms of support for teaching in the humanities. For more information, visit the Center for the Humanities site.