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The book, Philadelphia Fire, is a fictional account of the 1985 MOVE incident on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. Eleven people died when police acted against members of the group MOVE in neighborhood houses. Wideman and his wife lived on Osage Avenue in the 1960s when he taught English as the first tenured black professor at the University. He is widely known as the author of A Glance Away, Hiding Place, Damballah, and more recently -- Brothers. Wideman was named the second black Rhodes Scholar after he graduated from the University with a degree in English. School of Arts and Sciences administrators said that Wideman should attract a large audience because of his history on campus and his reputation as an author. PEN at Penn speakers are chosen from the ranks of the PEN American Center, a worldwide association of poets, playwrights, editors, essayists, novelists, and translators. The program to bring PEN speakers to campus began in the fall of 1987. It is funded by University graduate and Trustee Saul Steinberg, who came up with the idea for the program. PEN members who have come to speak -- among them George Plimpton, Susan Sontag, and Stephen Sondheim -- are called Steinberg Fellows in his honor. Wideman will speak at 4 p.m. in Room 17 of Logan Hall. Admission to the speech is free.

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