University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Art and Art History

Discussion Panel based on book: "It Occurs to Me That I Am America"

Editor Jonathan Santlofer in Conversation with book contributors, writer Julia Alvarez and artists Shahzia Sikander and Jane Kent.

It Occurs to Me That I Am America

Publisher: Touchstone/ Simon & Schuster


Editor Jonathan Santlofer in Conversation with book contributors, writer Julia Alvarez and artists Shahzia Sikander and Jane Kent.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018                

6:00 PM                      

The University of Vermont Dudley Davis Center

Sugar Maple Room


590 Main St

Burlington, VT 05405

Space is limited. Seating is available on a first come first serve basis, please arrive early.

You can find more information on the book here:  

The book is available for purchase at the event by Phoenix Books with a book signing to follow immediately after the event.

This event is sponsored by The Mollie Ruprecht Fund for Visual Arts


Speaker Bios:

 Julia Alvarez was born in New York City. Alvarez's parents returned to their native country, Dominican Republic, shortly after her birth.  Ten years later, the family was forced to flee to the United States because of her father’s involvement in a plot to overthrow the dictator, Trujillo. Alvarez has written novels (How the García Girls Lost Their AccentsIn the Time of the Butterflies¡Yo!In the Name of SaloméSaving the World), collections of poems (HomecomingThe Other Side/ El Otro LadoThe Woman I Kept to Myself), nonfiction (Something to DeclareOnce Upon A Quinceañera, and A Wedding in Haiti), and numerous books for young readers (including the Tía Lola Stories series,Before We Were Free, finding miracles, and Return to Sender and most recently, Where Do They Go?). Alvarez’s awards include the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award.  Most recently, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama. Alvarez is co-founder of Border of Lights, an annual gathering between the Dominican Republic and Haiti to commemorate victims of racial violence and to promote peace and collaboration between the two countries.

 Jane Kent makes prints, paintings and artists’ books. Working with text and image, she has been producing an ongoing artists’ book project begun in 1994. Her works are in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; National Gallery of American Art; Rare Books Division and the Drawing and Prints Division, Library of Congress; Spencer Collection, New York Public Library; Bieneke Library, Yale University; Prints Collection, Word and Image Department, the Victoria and Albert Museum; among others. Fellowships and awards include the National Endowment for the Arts, Artists’ Fellowship; Barbara and Thomas Putnam Fellowship, McDowell Colony; Yaddo Artists’ Fellowship. She is Professor in the Department of Art and Art History, University of Vermont.

 Born in Pakistan, Shahzia Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts in Lahore. Sikander’s breakthrough work received national critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Shakir Ali and Haji Sharif Awards for excellence in miniature painting, subsequently launching the medium into the forefront of NCA’s program, and bringing international recognition to this medium within contemporary art practices. Sikander moved to the United States in 1993 to pursue her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design. Informed by South Asian, American, Feminist and Muslim perspectives, Sikander has developed a unique, critically charged visual iconography to interrogate ideas of language, trade and empire, and migration. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (2006) and the State Department Medal of Arts (2012), Sikander has been the subject of major international exhibitions around the world and has participated in more than 400 group shows and international art forums.

 Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and artist. He has published five novels including the “The Death Artist,” the Nero award winning “Anatomy of Fear,” and many short stories. He has been editor/contributor of several anthologies as well as the New York Times bestselling serial novel “Inherit the Dead.” His artwork has been exhibited widely in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and is in such public and private collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, Tokyo’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Newark Museum of Art, among many others. Santlofer is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and serves on the board of Yaddo. His memoir, “The Widower’s Notebook,” will be published by Penguin Books in July 2018. Visit Jonathan at