Pulitzer Prize Author to Speak at President’s Convocation

Amy Ellis Nutt
Amy Ellis Nutt

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Pulitzer Prize-winning author Amy Ellis Nutt will speak at Illinois Wesleyan University’s President's Convocation on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington).

Nutt is the author of IWU’s Summer Reading Program selection  Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of An American Family , which tells the story of Wyatt Maines in her journey of asserting her gender identity and “becoming Nicole.” In the process, Nicole challenges those around her to reassess their previously held beliefs in light of a rapidly changing world. Similarly, the University’s annual intellectual theme Changing Climates challenges the campus community to examine and re-examine the racial, religious, political, environmental and economic climates present in our world.

Currently a neuroscience and mental health writer at The Washington Post, Nutt holds a prolific background in journalistic writing as a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, and an instructor of journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Nutt was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for her feature series The Wreck of the Lady Mary, about the 2009 sinking of a fishing boat off the coast of New Jersey. She was also a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing for The Accidental Artist, later made into a book, Shadows Bright as GlassBecoming Nicole is Nutt’s second New York Times bestseller, following her 2014 co-authored book The Teenage Brain.

Nutt previously worked as a journalist for the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey and Sports Illustrated, for which she received several honors. Her awards have included the Distinguished Writing Award (non-deadline writing) from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Pinnacle of Excellence Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York.

Nutt graduated from Smith College with a double major in English and philosophy. She holds master’s degrees in philosophy from M.I.T. and journalism from Columbia University. Nutt was born in Staten Island, New York, grew up in New Jersey and lives in Washington, D.C.

By Rachel McCarthy ’21




Understanding culture and society through a gendered lens allows many opportunities to unpack assumptions and narratives that reinforce/reinscribe power, privilege and identity.  Further, a study by the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education found that a lack of programming on transgender issues was a major hurdle in making campuses more Trans-inclusive.  We proposed a speaker/performer series that created dialogues and intersections around gender and gendered experiences to further understanding, self- and social-awareness, and knowledge creation at the borders through the presence of trans*-identified people. The following programs and events were part of the TRANSVOICES speaker and performer series, funded in part by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Taking place during 2014-15, these programs featured Trans speakers and focused on gender, gender identity and the cultural construction of the gender binary.

Athens Boy Choir: Feb 5, 2015

" Harvey Katz manages to give voice to a community that needs to be heard; he is an artist who knows the power of word and uses it wisely. His performance poetry is rapid-fire word-play that shines light on lives that rarely get airtime. His heart-on-the-sleeve linguistic exploration is matched by his enthusiastic, potent performances. Through the course of one poem, he manages to bring the audience to the verge of tears and turn them on their heads with laughter. He is compassionate, complicated and a seasoned performer."

Beyond Competence: Nov 18, 2014

The Staff of Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago, renowned for decades of LGB and Trans advocacy weave a presentation that highlights the history, hope and harmony that lives lived on the margins have contributed to creating a rich, resilient and reliable culture.

Beyond Competence

Trans* Day of Remembrance: Nov 20, 2014

"On this day we talk about the importance of Trans* inclusion on campus and across the country.Office of Diversity and Inclusion director Brandon Commons and Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger will give opening remarks. Then the names of trans victims of abuse and suicide will be read off and a candle lit in their honor." Source: IWU Pride Facebook

Trans* Day of Remembrance

Christina Kahrl: Becoming a woman in a man's world - Nov 6, 2014 

Christina Karhl shares with us the hardships and triumphs of being a transgender female in her family, career, and the American culture. She unravels her original confusion and attempts to mask her actual identity to fit into the norms of a cis-gendered society. 


TRANSVOICES Promotional Materials

Transvoices promo
Transvoices promo
Transvoices promo
Transvoices Promo
Transvoices Promo
Transvoices Promo
Transvoices Promo


*Pictures are linked to a Photobucket account. Click on each picture to view the whole album.*