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Welcome to the 2019-20 academic year. That means a whole new year of speakers, lectures, films, readings and other events that will fill your brain.

September is looking like a pretty good month. Former first lady Laura Bush will speak in Greensboro, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley will visit Elon and the Notorious RBG herself will be in Raleigh. The Bryan Series starts this month — with the Laura Bush lecture I mentioned one sentence earlier — and the N.C. A&T Chancellor's Speaker Series cranks up in October.

Everything's free unless noted. Here's what I have for September, plus a couple of bonus events for October:

Sept. 3: Novelist Ron Rash will read at Appalachian State University (7:30 p.m., Plemmons Student Union). Rash's novels include "Serena," "Above the Waterfall" and "The Cove." He's the first guest of the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series, which is named for the late Ms. Frank, an Appalachian graduate and former trustee who died in a Greensboro fire in May.

Sept. 4: Duke University history professor Laurent Dubois will talk about soccer at High Point University (7 p.m., Cottrell Ballroom). HPU says Dubois "will cover the ideas of how soccer reaches across cultural norms and can be found in everything from visual art to film and literature."

Sept. 4: Corey D. B. Walker will deliver the inaugural Slavery, Race and Memory Project lecture at Wake Forest University (5:30 p.m., Porter Byrum Welcome Center). Walker is a visiting professor of leadership studies and the humanities at the University of Richmond and a former dean at Winston-Salem State University. Wake Forest joined the Universities Studying Slavery in 2017 and recently went live with a new website that outlines the project.

Sept. 5: Photographer Keith Carter will lecture at UNCG (6 p.m., Weatherspoon Art Museum). Carter holds the Endowed Walles Chair in Fine Arts at Lamar University in Texas. His photographs have been shown in more than 100 solo exhibitions in 13 countries. His latest exhibition of large-scale photographs — "Keith Carter: Fifty Years" — will be at the Greensboro Project Space in downtown Greensboro from Sept. 5-27. An opening reception will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at GPS.

Sept. 5: Author Rajia Hassib will read at High Point University as part of the Phoenix Reading Series (7 p.m., Wilson Ballroom, Plato S. Wilson School of Commerce). Her first novel, “In the Language of Miracles” (2015) was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her latest, "A Pure Heart," came out this month.

Sept. 5-8: Bookmarks' annual Festival of Books & Authors runs for four days in Winston-Salem. Casey Cep ("Furious Hours") is the keynoter; bestselling authors Sarah Blake ("The Postmistress"), Dave Cullen ("Columbine"), Margaret George ("Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles"), Rajia Hassib ("In the Language of Miracles"), Victoria Schwab ("Tunnel of Bone") also are on the schedule, as are James and Deborah Fallows (The Atlantic magazine). Local higher ed folks and novelists scheduled to read are N.C. A&T professor Valerie Nieman and recently retired UNCG professor Michael Parker. Check out the long, long list of authors scheduled to appear Sept. 7.

Sept. 10: The Guilford College Bryan Series kicks off its 2019-20 season with former first lady Laura Bush (7:30 p.m., Greensboro Coliseum). I usually include one or two sentences of biography here, but, c'mon, y'all know who Laura Bush is. Click here for tickets, which are $65 before fees.

Sept. 12: Fred Chappell will read his poetry at UNCG (7 p.m., Faculty Center). Chapell is a retired UNCG professor, the former Poet Laureate of North Carolina and writer of numerous novels and poetry collections.

Sept. 17: N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby will speak at a Constitution Day event at Alamance Community College (2:30 p.m., Patterson Auditorium at the main campus in Graham). Newby, a former assistant U.S. attorney, has served on the state Supreme Court since 2004.

Sept. 18: Author and journalist Alex Wagner will give the Common Reading Lecture at Elon University (7:30 p.m., Alumni Gym; call (336) 278-5610 for tickets, which are $15). Wagner is the author of "Futureface," in which she travels around the world to untangle the mystery of her family's racial and ethnic history. Wagner is co-host of "The Circus," a political documentary series that airs on Showtime, and a correspondent for CBS News.

Sept. 23: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will deliver Meredith College's Lillian Parker Wallace Lecture (7:30 p.m., Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh). If Meredith College students, employees, alums and retirees don't snap up all the tickets, the college will make available the leftovers via a lottery system on or after Sept. 16. Details for the public ticket lottery will be posted later this month at this link.

Sept. 26: Visual and performing artist Nick Cave will be at UNCG (6 p.m., Elliott University Center auditorium). Cave is best known for his elaborate Soundsuits, wearable pieces that blend fashion, sculpture and sound.

Sept. 27: Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will speak at Elon University's fall convocation (3:30 p.m., Schar Center). Haley served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2019. her book, "With All Due Respect," comes out in November. Click here for tickets ($15 general admission)

Sept. 27: Brittany Hawley, Ms. Wheelchair USA, will talk about academic accessibility at Greensboro College (3 p.m., Sternberger Center in the library). Hawley, a North Carolina native, is touring the country with her service dog to promote Universal Design for Learning, a program that Greensboro College is using to adapt curricula and learning environments to the individual needs of students.

Sept. 28: High Point University will hold its annual HPUniverse Day for children and families (6 to 9 p.m., Wanek School of Natural Sciences). HPU says there will be more than 20 different learning stations and activities. The new building's planetarium also will be open.

Oct. 2: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will be the guest of the Guilford College Bryan Series (7:30 p.m., Greensboro Coliseum). Breyer has served on the court since 1994, when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton. Click here for tickets ($60).

Oct. 3: Amber Riley, Laverne Cox and Shaun Ross — advocates for equality and healthy living — will kick off a new season of the Chancellor’s Speaker Series at N.C. A&T (6 p.m., Harrison Auditorium). Riley starred in "Glee" and won a season of "Dancing with the Stars." Cox stars in “Orange is The New Black" and is the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy for acting. Ross is model, singer, actor and dancer and is first male model to represent albinism. The event is titled “Love the Skin You’re In." It'll be moderated by Raushannah “Dr. RJ” Johnson-Verwayne, a 2001 A&T alum and licensed clinical psychologist in Atlanta. For public tickets, visit the University Ticket Office in Brown Hall on campus beginning Sept. 9.

Want to get your event listed? If you have a lecture, panel discussion, film or something similar coming up, email me the details at You can also find me on Twitter at @JohnNewsomNR.

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