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Friday, March 25, 2016

Zombie fiction writer Kim Paffenroth to speak at URI, April 5

Event is part of URI Center for the Humanities Festival

KINGSTON, R.I. –Kim Paffenroth, a nationally acclaimed zombie fiction writer, will speak at the University of Rhode Island Tuesday, April 5 for the 5th annual Center for the Humanities Festival.

His talk, “I Want to Know What Love Is: Hellish and Heavenly Loves, from Dante to The Walking Dead,’’ will start at 6 p.m. in the Agnes B. Doody Auditorium, Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road on the Kingston campus. 

Paffenroth is distinguished professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, specializing in scholastic theology. He is the author of Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Visions of Hell on Earth and of zombie fiction influenced by classical humanities texts such as Dying to Live: Last Rites. 

He regularly speaks about the role of zombies and the horror genre in popular culture. His essays have appeared in Communio and The Journal of Religion and Film. He is the recipient of the 2006 Bram Stoker Award and a silver medal in Forward Magazine’s Book of the Year 2007. He was a finalist for the 2007 International Horror Guild Award and the 2008 Black Quill Award. 

According to his college website, Paffenroth was trained primarily in the study of the New Testament and the early church. He also investigates how Christian beliefs are expressed in more recent works of literature or in “high culture’’ or “popular culture.’’ His zombie novels have been translated into German, Italian and Russian.

His talk will be followed by a panel discussion with URI professors and graduate students and a book signing. Excellence award winners in the humanities for undergraduate and graduate students will also be announced.

The festival is sponsored by the URI Center for the Humanities; Office of the Provost; College of Arts and Sciences; Research and Economic Development; Harrington School of Communications and Media; and Department of Philosophy.

For more information, contact Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, director of the URI Center for the Humanities and professor of photography, at 401-874-5700. Also, visit

“We are thrilled to welcome our speaker who is rooted in the humanities and will also appeal to students by connecting Dante to the Walking Dead,’’ said Matthew.

Image above: Painting on the flyer is by Randall Stevenson, who graduated from URI in 2010.