UCSC will host the fourth annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading featuring award-winning Palestinian-American poet, writer, and educator Naomi Shihab Nye, on Thursday, November 14, at 6 p.m., in the Kresge Town Hall.

The evening will also include a reading by the winner of this year’s Morton Marcus poetry contest.

UCSC humanities lecturer and alumnus Gary Young--Santa Cruz's first Poet Laureate--will emcee the program and present the $1,000 contest prize.

Admission is free and the public is invited.

The event is held each year to honor poet, teacher, film critic, and Santa Cruz cultural icon Morton Marcus, who passed away from cancer four years ago (1936-2009).

It was created to continue Marcus’s tradition of bringing acclaimed poets to Santa Cruz County, to acknowledge the significant role poetry has played in the community's history, and to help preserve poetry's influence in the county's culture.

The author or editor of more than 30 volumes of poetry, essays, short stories, novels and anthologies, Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow.

She has also received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and numerous honors for her children's literature.

In 2010, Nye was elected to the board of chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, and in 2012, she was named laureate of the 2013 NSK Prize for Children's Literature.

Born to a Palestinian father and an American mother, Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem and San Antonio.  Her work draws on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experience traveling the world, utilizing writing to illustrate our shared humanity.

The annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading is a community event--co-sponsored by Ow Family Properties; Poetry Santa Cruz; UC Santa Cruz’s Creative Writing Program, Special Collections and Archives, and Porter Hitchcock Poetry Fund; the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County; the Cabrillo College English Department; and Bookshop Santa Cruz.

The reading will be followed by a book signing with Nye.