Author and journalist Nina Burleigh to discuss her book "The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox" at IIT Chicago-Kent September 7

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

 The Trials of Amanda KnoxNina Burleigh will discuss her new book, The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox (Broadway Books 2011), on September 7. The program will begin at 3 p.m. in Room 590 at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 565 West Adams Street (between Clinton and Jefferson streets), in Chicago.

The Fatal Gift of Beauty explores the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Kercher's roommate, American exchange student Amanda Knox; Knox's Italian boyfriend; and another man were arrested and charged in the case. Knox and her boyfriend were convicted in separate trials in December 2009 and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

The case took an unexpected turn in December 2010 when a court ruled that it would allow an independent review of key DNA evidence used to convict the couple. The defense had charged that the samples used to convict Knox were inconclusive and possibly contaminated. An appeal was granted. The independent experts last month presented a 145-page report and testified that the DNA evidence collected by police was mishandled and unreliable. The trial currently is in recess until September.

The case attracted much attention among the American, British and Italian media. Nina Burleigh, the author of four previous nonfiction books and a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, went to Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. Burleigh's research also took her into the history and customs of Perugia that added complexities to the case. The book investigates the Kercher murder and the prosecution and conviction of Amanda Knox against a backdrop of cultural differences.

A native Chicagoan, Burleigh's work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, ABA Journal and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. She covered the Clinton administration and the West Bank for Time and has filed human-interest stories for People. Burleigh has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker and the Huffington Post.

A book signing will follow the presentation. This program is co-sponsored by IIT Chicago-Kent's Institute for Science, Law and Technology and Women in Law, a student organization.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Institute for Science, Law & Technology has shared its leading-edge information with policy researchers, business, government, academics, and the public at large. It has also launched a variety of research projects dealing with biotechnology, nanotechnology, genetics, emerging scientific and medical technologies, and diabetes.