Columnist Pitts to be featured speaker May 1 at Hughes Complex

10:21:27 AM CDT - Thursday, April 22, 2004

Leonard Pitts, the nationally syndicated columnist who was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, will give a lecture, "Choosing Sides," at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 1, in WSU's Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

Pitts' talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Durfee Lecture Series, which was established by the First Presbyterian Church in honor of Wichitan Kent Durfee. The lecture series is co-sponsored by WSU's Elliott School of Communication and The Wichita Eagle.

Pitts won this year's Pulitzer Prize for a collection of twice-weekly columns he wrote for The Miami Herald in 2003. The Pulitzer board said it selected Pitts for his "fresh, vibrant columns that spoke, with passion and compassion, to ordinary people on often divisive issues."

Pitts joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop critic. Since 1994, he has penned a syndicated column, commenting on pop culture, social issues and family life. His column appears each Monday in The Wichita Eagle.

Pitts has been writing professionally for 25 years. His work has appeared in such publications as Musician, Spin, Right ON!, TV Guide, Reader's Digest and Parenting. His latest book, "Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood," was released in May 1999. He's also written and produced for radio, including "Who We Are," an award-winning radio documentary on the history of black America.

In addition to his recent Pulitzer award, Pitts has garnered many other honors, including first place in 1997 for commentary in newspapers by the American Association of Sunday and Feature Writers competition and in 2001 for commentary by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

While in Wichita, Pitts will also speak at the 11 a.m. worship service, Sunday, May 2, at First Presbyterian Church, 525 N. Broadway. His topic will be "OK, God."

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