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Award-winning journalist is keynote speaker at Joliet conference

Author and award-winning journalist Maudlyne Ihejirika is to be the keynote speaker at the St. Francis Writer's Conference on Nov. 18.
Author and award-winning journalist Maudlyne Ihejirika is to be the keynote speaker at the St. Francis Writer's Conference on Nov. 18.

JOLIET – Author and award-winning journalist Maudlyne Ihejirika will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming 26th annual St. Francis Writer’s Conference on Nov. 18.

Ihejirika was a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times for several years.

Admission to the keynote address and panel events is free. Refreshments and a dialogue will follow Iherjirika’s reading from “Escape From Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War.”

Presentations of student writing will also take place throughout the day. RSVPs are recommended. For more information and to register, visit www.stfrancis.edu/academics/english/ell/keynote.

This event is made possible in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly, as well as USF English Department alumni.

Ihejirika is an award-winning, Chicago Sun-Times Urban Affairs reporter/columnist with nearly 30 years experience in newspaper journalism, public relations and government. She currently pens the Sun-Times’ “Chicago Chronicles” column, long-form stories on “people and places that make Chicago tick,” with particular focus on African-American and Hispanic communities.

She is the author of the recently published “Escape From Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War,” a riveting tale of her family’s survival of the brutal Nigerian-Biafran War and miracles that brought them to the U.S. as refugees on June 9, 1969.

A Sun-Times staffer for 24 years, she has served as assistant city editor and covered beats from crime and inner city issues to housing and education, politics and philanthropy. Ihejirika left the Sun-Times in 1997 to serve as Gov. Jim Edgar’s press secretary for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and in 1999, left state government to launch the Ihejirika Media & Communications Group.

Her niche public relations firm managed the successful re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000, when he was challenged by a then-little-known politician by the name of Barack Obama. It would be the only race Obama would lose on his upward trajectory to U.S. president.

Returning to the Sun-Times in 2003, Ihejirika’s numerous awards include the 2016 Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award, the prestigious 2015 Studs Terkel Award, and 2015 NABJ Salute to Excellence Award for best newspaper series nationally. She also earned NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards for best newspaper features in 2014 and 2011, the Vernon C. Jarrett Par Excellence in Journalism Award in 2013, and two Society of Professional Journalists Lisagor Awards in 2008.

A frequent guest contributor on WTTW-11’s “Chicago Tonight: Week In Review” and FOX-32’s “Good Day Chicago,” she has appeared as a political analyst on CNN, TV One, ABC and CBS, as well as on NPR, WBEZ, WVON and V103 radio stations.

For more information, visit linkedin.com/in/maudlyneihejirika and facebook.com/Maudlynei and facebook.com/EscapeFromNigeria.

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