News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: April 3, 2004 (04-42)

PHOTO EDITORS: A high-resolution image to accompany this story is available at   /news/highresolutionimages/04/smokeweek/ellisavery.jpg

New York Author to Speak at Montgomery College About 9/11 Experience
Ellis Avery to Visit Takoma Park and Rockville Campuses April 22  

            New York author Ellis Avery will read from her book, The Smoke Week: Sept. 11-21, 2001, and discuss her personal experience with the 9/11 tragedy on Thursday, April 22, at Montgomery College’s Takoma Park and Rockville Campuses.  The first reading will be held at 1 p.m. at the Takoma Park Campus, Science North Building, Room 100, located near the intersection of Fenton Street and New York Avenue, Takoma Park.  The 7 p.m. reading and discussion will be held at the College’s Rockville Campus, Science Building West, Room 122, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville.

            Winner of the 2002 Ohioana Library Walter Rumsey Marvin Award, The Smoke Week expresses the emotional trauma that Avery and fellow New Yorkers felt while watching the events of 9/11 unfold.  In an early chapter of her memoir, Avery shares her thoughts and impressions of the World Trade Center from a 1996 visit.  This chapter is in stark contrast to her later ones devoted to what she saw and felt as fire consumed the twin towers.  Of the book, author Maxine Hong Kingston said, “Ellis Avery’s personal story of a few days in September, 2001, gives expression to our national suffering.  Here is Witness.  Here is Testimony.”

            Avery’s work has appeared in The Village Voice and Lieu.  Her writing also been showcased at the Expanded Arts Theater in New York City.  Besides The Smoke Week, Avery has co-written a book of poetry with Melissa Demien, entitled Three Lines, One Road, and authored The Book of Salt.  Avery teaches creative writing at Columbia University.

            Avery’s visit to Montgomery College is sponsored by the Takoma Park Campus honors program; the Department of English, Reading, Foreign Languages and the American English Language program; the American Studies group; Community Conversations; the Women’s Studies program and the Paul Peck Institute for American Culture and Civic Engagement.

            For more information about the Ellis Avery’s visit, contact Robert Giron, Montgomery College English professor, at 240-567-1379 or go to and click on Calendar.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.