Author, translator of ‘Beowulf’ coming to Catawba

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

Catawba News Service

SALISBURY — Bestselling author and translator of “Beowulf,” Maria Dahvana Headley, is coming to Salisbury as a featured speaker for The Pursuit at Catawba College on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in Crystal Peeler Lounge at the Robertson College-Community Center on Catawba’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Headley is the New York Times-bestselling, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author of eight books, most recently Beowulf: A New Translation, which was named as book of the year by The Atlantic Monthly, NPR, Vox, The Irish Times, The Guardian, and The New Statesmen. Headley offers a radical new, feminist verse translation of the epic poem, which was likely composed between 700 and 1000 AD, and brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English.

Other works by Headley include books for teenagers (Magonia and Aerie) and adults in a variety of genres and forms. With Neil Gaiman, she edited a collection of sixteen short stories about strange and incredible creatures called, Unnatural Creatures, to benefit 826DC—a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students age 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Her nonfiction debut, The Year of Yes, became an international bestseller, translated into 13 languages, and was featured on a variety of television shows, including The Today Show and Keith Olbermann.

Headley is the first featured speaker of a new humanities-based scholarship program at Catawba College called The Pursuit, which is supported by the Teagle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Launched this academic year, first-year students receive a scholarship to participate in a two-course sequence that asks students to engage with transformative texts and the humanities as they pursue some of the most important human questions—questions that will inform and transcend their future professional life. The first course in the sequence offered this fall asks students to contemplate, “The Hero’s Journey,” and how myths, fables, and religious texts both shape and reflect culture, community, and individual identity. The students examine heroic figures as they grapple with big questions such as, “What is happiness?”, “What does it mean to be successful?”, and “How do you lead a good life—a life of purpose, virtue, and fulfillment?”

In the spring semester, students turn those questions toward their future area of study (Business, Health Science and Human Performance, or Environmental and Natural Science). Students will contextualize their professional aspirations within the broader range of society, culture, and the human experience. Students will immerse themselves in the questions that philosophers, historians, and cultural critics pose toward science- and business-driven progress, in the process sharpening their own understanding of their future majors from an interdisciplinary and well-rounded angle.

For more information about the event or the Pursuit Scholarship Program, email or visit the website


For more information about Maria Dahvana Headley, visit her website at: