Iowa City author Jeff Biggers will talk about his new book, Damnatio Memoriae: A Play / Una Commedia. Damnatio Memoriae explores the role of the theatre amid the conflicts of immigration, human rights, citizenship, family, and legacy. From the clash of two theatre troupes on stage; one Italian, and the other composed of foreign actors, a new play emerges, revealing the history of Ancient Rome, its forgotten emperors, entangled cultural heritage, and today’s unfolding stories on the Mediterranean Sea.
Biggers serves as the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Iowa's Office of Sustainability, where he founded the Climate Narrative Project. He is the American Book Award winning author of several works of history and memoir, including State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Showdown Over the American Dream, and Reckoning at Eagle Creek. His stories have appeared on NPR, and in the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Author and performer of original monologues, his play Across the Stones of Fire toured nationally and won the Greener Planet Award at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in New York City.
"Damnatio Memoriae is a brilliant and provocative work that uses humor, parody and a deep-seated sense of justice to remind us of the multi-ethnic nature of the Roman Empire and, through that, to alert us to the loss of memory and to the historical challenges of our time."–Alessandro Portelli