Hope College’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series are partnering to host a conversation with Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of “Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge” and “Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge,” the complementary young reader’s edition.

“Never Caught: A Conversation with Erica Armstrong Dunbar” will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. ET and is intended for readers of all ages.  Dunbar will respond to questions and comments about her writing and work on the uncomfortable concepts of slavery, racial injustice, gender equality and the ways she is able to marvel at the incredible triumph of survival and the beautiful history of resistance.

Due to COVID-19, this event and others will be hosted virtually. More information and the full program schedule can be found on bigreadlakeshore.com.

The NEA Big Read Lakeshore’s 2020 selection is “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick. “As we delve into a new genre for our program, historical nonfiction, our guiding questions focus on whose history tends to get told and whose history is left out or silenced,” said Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, associate professor of English education and director of the NEA Big Read Lakeshore. “We’re thrilled to involve Dr. Dunbar in our program as her book helps our community explore these timely, important, and relevant questions together.”

Both “Never Caught” books are an eye-opening look into the life of America’s First Family. Ona Judge risked everything to escape the nation’s capital and find freedom. These award-winning books give a glimpse into the life of a powerful, yet little-known, figure in American history and how George Washington used his political and personal contacts to lead a manhunt and recapture his property.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is a writer and historian, currently teaching at Rutgers University as the Charles and Mary Beard Distinguished Professor of History. Her work focuses on the concepts of slavery, racial injustice and gender inequality.

An accomplished scholar, Dunbar was named the national director of the Association of Black Women Historians in 2019, an organization dedicated to continuing the advancement for the study of Black women’s history. In 2011, she also became the inaugural director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, a position she held until 2018. Dunbar skillfully provides readers with an intimate look at the often-overlooked stories that make the country’s history so richly diverse.

This event is being hosted in partnership with Hope College’s Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series, a student-run, faculty-organized series committed to providing the Hope and West Michigan communities with diverse and rich literary experiences.

Hope College's NEA Big Read Lakeshore program began in 2014 with the goal to create and foster a culture where reading matters. By bringing the Lakeshore community together around a common book, Big Read Lakeshore uses the shared experience of reading, discussing and exploring the themes of the book as a springboard to listen from and learn from each other.

The NEA Big Read Lakeshore program is made possible in part by a grant from the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  For more information about the program, visit bigreadlakeshore.com.