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Nov. 9: 'Life on the Dead Beat'

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New York Times writer to discuss 'Obituary as Social History'

Margalit Fox of The New York Times will speak at UD on Nov. 9.

Margalit Fox of The New York Times will speak on "My Life on the Dead Beat: The Obituary as Social History" at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 9, in 112 Memorial Hall on the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

The presentation is sponsored by the Journalism Program in UD's Department of English.

Fox joined the newspaper's obituaries department as a staff writer in 2004, and has written the front page send-offs of some of the best-known cultural figures of the era, including the pioneering feminist Betty Friedan, the writer Maya Angelou, the poets Seamus Heaney and Adrienne Rich, the children's author Maurice Sendak and the advice columnists Dear Abby and Ann Landers.

She has also written the obituaries of many of the unsung heroes who have managed, quietly, to touch history, among them the inventors of the Frisbee, the crash-test dummy, the plastic lawn flamingo and the bar code.

Her work is prominently featured in The Sense of Style (2014), the best-selling guide to writing well by Steven Pinker.

Fox received the Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York in 2011 for feature writing, and in 2015 for beat reporting. She has been a member of the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary since 2013.

She is the author of Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind (Simon and Schuster, 2007) and The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code (Ecco Press/HarperCollins), published in 2013. That book, a narrative nonfiction account of the decipherment of the Bronze Age Aegean script known as Linear B, was selected by The Times Book Review as one of the hundred best books of the year and received the 2014 William Saroyan Prize for International Writing. 

Originally trained as a cellist, Fox holds bachelor's and master's degrees in linguistics from Stony Brook University and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


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Margalit Fox of The New York Times will speak on "My Life on the Dead Beat: The Obituary as Social History" at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 9, in 11 Memorial Hall.
10/23/2015
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