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IU Lifelong Learning: The Power of Words and Pictures

  • Monroe County Public Library 303 E Kirkwood Ave Bloomington, IN, 47408 United States (map)

IU Lifelong Learning class:

The Power of Words and Pictures: Exploring the Graphic Novel

7–8:30 p.m.
Thursdays: September 10 & 17
Monroe County Public Library, Meeting Room 1B
Cost: $65
— includes the two class sessions, plus author reception and reserved seating at the IU Auditorium for The Power of Words on September 21
Learn more and enroll.

Full details:

Join us as we explore the graphic novel format as a medium for transmission of important historical, cultural, and human experiences.

Our conversation begins on September 10, with award-winning graphic novelist and Bloomington resident Nate Powell, who will share how he approaches a project, with a special focus on his work on the March trilogy with civil rights icon, John Lewis, and co-creator Andrew Aydin. He will share how he conducts research and works with the historical record and translates them into the compelling graphic images that have been hailed by critics for creating "an astonishingly accomplished graphic memoir that brings to life a vivid portrait of the civil rights era, Lewis' extraordinary history and accomplishments, and the movement he helped lead... its power, accessibility and artistry destine it for awards, and a well-deserved place at the pinnacle of the comics canon."

In the second session, Monroe County Public Library's community engagement manager and long-time reader and student of comic books, Josh Wolf, will help us gain a broader understanding of the graphic novel format, as he places Nate Powell's illustrations and the March trilogy in the long tradition of visual storytelling that began with cave paintings and continues through digital media.

Note: This course is approved by the Indiana State Library for five Library Education Units (LEUs). Contact Sara Laughlin ( for further information and requirements.

Instructors: Nate Powell is a New York Times best-selling graphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2000. His work includes the critically acclaimed Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole (winner of the Eisner Award and Ignatz Award; finalist for the LA Times Book Prize) among others. He is currently working as the artist on two high-profile projects: March, the three-part graphic novel memoir of Congressman John Lewis, and the graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan's #1 international bestseller Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero. In addition, he is writing and drawing his own forthcoming graphic novel Cover and assembling the short story collection You Don't Say. Powell lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Josh Wolf is the Community Engagement and Learning Services Manager at the Monroe County Public Library. A lifelong enthusiast and promoter for sequential art and storytelling, Josh is a master storyteller and member of the Bloomington Storytelling Guild, carrying on a deep tradition of storytelling among librarians that goes back to the early 20th century.

Dates and Times:
Lectures: Two Thursdays, September 10 and 17, 7-8:30 p.m.;
Gala Reception (with authors and illustrator) and Author Talk with Congressman John Lewis: Monday, September 21, Reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by Author Talk at 7:30 p.m.

Two Thursday Lectures, Monroe County Public Library, Meeting Room 1B, 303 E. Kirkwood Avenue;
Monday, September 21: Gala Reception at Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center (Grand Hall), 275 N. Jordan Avenue, followed immediately by Author Talk in IU Auditorium, 1211 E. 7th Street

Fee: $65 (includes two class sessions, ticket to the pre-talk gala reception, and reserved seating at the IU Auditorium for the author talk)

Learn more and enroll.

IU Lifelong Learning provides opportunities for you to engage in lifelong learning. Programs draw upon the rich resources of IU Bloomington and are offered on campus and at convenient community locations. Bloomington Lifelong Learning, formerly Bloomington Continuing Studies, was established in 1971 and is a unit of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Earlier Event: September 6
Power of Words Film Series: Freedom Riders
Later Event: September 13
Books+ Book Discussion