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Siegal Lifelong Learning

Literature + Writing

Literature + Writing

Thursdays, March 9–April 20 | 1:30–3:30 p.m.

No class March 16

Jeff Karem, Professor of English, Cleveland State University


This course provides a sampling of the wide spectrum of Native American literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our study will be geographically diverse, encompassing texts by Native Americans from the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Northwest. The course begins with native texts from the nineteenth century, including folktales and non-fiction, and concludes with recent Native American fiction and poetry. A key goal of this course is considering the diverse and evolving shape of Native American literature, particularly how these texts have addressed Native encounters with the U.S. government, the changing state of nature on the continent, the challenges of the reservation system, and the tensions between tradition and innovation in modern Native American life.

The College Club of Cleveland | Members: $115; Nonmembers: $135 | REGISTER >


Wednesdays, March 8-29 | 10–11:30 a.m.


Sylvia Abrams, Retired Dean, Siegal College of Judaic Studies


British author, Tessa Hadley has created a masterful family drama in The Past. Four middle-aged siblings reunite at their ancestral home in the English countryside in this domestic portrait of a three-week holiday. 
Hadley expertly captures the gentle tragedies of living, losses, and regrets in this fresh take on a family reunion. "Hadley is the patron saint of ordinary lives; her trademark empathy and sharp insight are out in force here." (Kirkus Review)


Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield Branch | Free (advanced registration recommended) | REGISTER >



Sundays, March 19-May 7 | 5-6:30 p.m.


Nancy Fleming, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


The Harlem Renaissance was a period between 1917 and 1933 when Harlem became a center for black literature, music and art. Writers addressed diverse issues such as the importance of a black intelligentsia, radicalism, identity, interactions between blacks and whites, biracialism and whether to embrace folk tradition. These issues will be explored in the selected readings. Book: The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader, David Levering Lewis, Editor, Penguin Books


Private Residence, 13803 Cormere Ave., Cleveland | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >

Mondays, March 20–May 8 | 10–11:30 a.m.


Phyllis Asnien, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


This book discussion course explores the work of Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler. Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a funny, wise tale of a family who keeps trying to get it right. The author's 11th novel, Breathing Lessons, won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize.  Books: A. Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and Breathing Lessons


Bay United Methodist Church | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >

Tuesdays, March 21–May 9
10–11:30 a.m.

Barbara Parr, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


This book discussion course examines George Orwell's classic 1984, which is, perhaps, more relevant today than it was when published in 1948. Discussions focus on the literary merit of the novel as well as the cultural, philosophical, and political topics Orwell includes. The course also examines Animal Farm, a political allegory and brilliant satire. Books: G. Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm


Brecksville United Church of Christ | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >


Tuesdays, March 28–May 16 | 7:30–9 p.m.


Joe KonenLeader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


This book offers us a vehicle for a nuanced understanding of Islam. Carla Power, a Western reporter who grew up in several predominantly Muslim countries, writes of her dialogues with prominent India-born and now London-based Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. The dialogue enlightens us on a nonviolent understanding of Islam. The sheik shows us how he distinguishes between culture and politics on the one hand and religion and spirituality on the other. Book: Carla Power (2015), If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran.

First Unitarian Church of Cleveland | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >


Tuesdays, March 21-May 9 | 10–11:30 a.m.


Joseph Jacoby, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


In this book discussion course, participants examine English novelists who are profoundly interested in issues of ethics and morality. Iris Murdoch’s classic work examines a group of well-intentioned, but muddled idealists in the Gloucestershire countryside. The past collides with the present in Julian Barnes’ novel about the tragic death of an intimate friend. Ian McEwan’s newly published novel explores the clash of religious and secular world views in the law courts of contemporary London. Books: I. Murdoch, The Bell; J. Barnes, The Sense of an Ending; I. McEwan, The Children Act


Lakewood United Methodist Church | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >


Thursdays, March 23-May 11 | 10-11:30 a.m.


Barbara Parr, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


John Steinbeck is a familiar name to all of us. His voice is that of the ordinary working class person facing both internal and external challenges in life. He takes on the human struggle in a timeless and universal language. His characters are richly developed and reach into our very souls. In The Grapes of Wrath and In Dubious Battle, Steinbeck addresses social and political issues of the Depression era. During this course, we will discuss the human, social and literary aspects of these works. His novels inspire and enrich readers of all generations.  Books: J. Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath


Middleburg Heights Church| Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >

Thursdays, April 20-May 25 | 1–3 p.m.

Susan Kisch, Lecturer in Lifelong Learning, CWRU


Canadian writers, our close northern neighbors and fellow English speakers, have their unique perspectives. Urban writers see their world differently from those from rural areas, or those who focus on specific ethnicities. While such authors as Mordecai Richler, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro are noted for their novels, we will concentrate on their powerful short stories.

Landmark Centre | Members: $90; Nonmembers: $110 | REGISTER >


Mondays, May 1-22 | 1:30-3 p.m.


Sylvia Abrams, Retired Dean, Siegal College of Judaic Studies


Pulitzer Prize winning author, Geraldine Brooks is a master of historical fiction. She succeeds in creating lives for characters whose inner struggles are silent in the historical narrative. From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. From the Bible, Brooks has created the story of the legendary warrior, King David. "Perhaps the hardships of war and the intricacies of human behavior are always at the heart of Brook's books."  We will compare and contrast these two historical novels: March and The Secret Chord.

Cuyahoga County Public Library, Orange Branch | Free (advanced registration recommended) REGISTER >



Wednesdays, May 3-31 | 7-8:30 p.m.


Barbara Parr, Instructor in Lifelong Learning, CWRU


The Struggle of the underclass in our country is an issue that has transcended generations. This five-week class will begin with JD Vance's new best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. It is a disturbing, vivid and heart-rending look at his experiences while growing up in a dysfunctional family living in extreme poverty. To highlight the universal theme of class struggle, this course will also read F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby. Both of these books will allow students to observe, analyze and discuss class issues. Participants should read the first six chapters of Hillbilly Elegy before the first class.


Lakewood Public Library, Main Branch | Free (advanced registration recommended) REGISTER >

Thursdays, May 4–June 15 | 1–3 p.m.

Reva Leizman, Lecturer in Lifelong Learning, CWRU

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel has been an eternal messenger to the world never to forget the Holocaust and a constant reminder that "the opposite of Love is not Hate, it's indifference." "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." In this course participants will examine Wiesel's life and writings which all bear witness to his efforts to better the world and make every individual aware of his/her responsibility to combat evil. Required books: Night; Gates of the Forest; The Fifth Son as well as a reader which will be for sale at the first class.


Landmark Centre | Members: $90; Nonmembers: $110 | REGISTER >


Tuesday, May 9 | 7 p.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


Ayelet Tsabari, author of award winning The Best Place on Earth will speak about growing up as an ethnic minority (Mizrahi) in Israel, and about reclaiming her Yemeni identity through writing. She will share the unique challenges she has faced as an immigrant author in North America, writing about Israel in English, her second language.

Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Wednesday, May 10 | 10 a.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


Israeli literature has long been dominated by Ashkenazi authors. Likewise, Israeli school curriculums often dismiss the work of Mizrahi authors (those of non-European descent) from the canon. But today, a new generation of Mizrahi writers are determined to carve out their own space, and perhaps even change the landscape of Israel’s literary scene. Reflecting on her own work and those like her, Ayelet Tsabari will shed light on the changing face of Israeli literature, and introduce some of the new Mizrahi voices who are making their mark.

Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Wednesday, May 10 | 4-6 p.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


An informal discussion for Cleveland's Hebrew speakers. Join author Ayelet Tsabari who will speak about her work and life growing up Mizrahi in Israel and as an Israeli writer in North America. Registration Required by May 3. Tea and pastries will be served.

Landmark Centre | Members and Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Thursday, May 11 | 10 a.m

Ayelet Tsabari, Author


How do writers turn lived experience into literary art? What makes for a great true life narrative? Do you have to live an extraordinary life to write nonfiction? Learn to locate the stories in your lives, apply fiction techniques to enhance your work, and experiment with form, structure, tense and voice. Discussion and writing exercises will focus on finding your theme, identifying the conflict, confronting your fears, and falling in love with revision. In this workshop, Ayelet Tsabari offers ten practical tips to help you refine your prose, deepen your understanding of the genre, and create stronger and more compelling non-fiction. Space is Limited


Landmark Centre | Members: $10; Nonmembers: $15 | REGISTER >