Friday, April 8, 2011

AViDly Enjoying April—my favorite time of year!

The sun is shining, the daffodils are in bloom, and AViD starts next week—with two delightful author events! Patrick Carr on April 11 (Central Library) and Anne Lamott on April 13 (Hoyt Sherman Place Theater).

Patrick Carr teaches sociology at Rutgers University and is an Associate Member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. He and Maria Kefalas came to Iowa a while back to study the exodus of youth from rural communities. Their research led to their book titled, Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America. Patrick is also the author of Clean Streets: Controlling Crime, Maintaining Order and Building Community Activism. He is co-editor along with Mary C. Waters, Jennifer Holdaway and Maria J. Kefalas of the forthcoming book Coming of Age in America, based on a comparative in-depth study of young adults funded by the Network on Transitions to Adulthood. His research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including on NPR.

Patrick will be joined by moderator Dr. Paul Lasley. He is a professor of sociology at Iowa State University whose work focuses on farm and rural issues at the state and national levels. Paul is widely known across Iowa and the author of over 100 professional journal articles. His research focuses on the changing structure of agriculture, rural development, and community, so it promises to be a wonderful evening filled with thoughtful discussion of issues facing local communities.

Wednesday night’s program featuring Anne Lamott promises to be great fun. In preparation for Anne’s visit, I’ve been reading lots of reviews of her work and I must say, she sounds like someone I would love to have as a girlfriend. She tackles really tough subjects, like teen drug abuse and alcoholism, but has this wonderful sense of humor that emanates throughout her writing. I just can’t wait to meet her!

Here’s more information about Anne directly from her publicist: “Ann writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was ‘a present to someone I loved who was going to die.’ In all her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, ‘I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.’ Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.”

Anne Lamott is the author of six novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, All New People, and Crooked Little Heart (the sequel to Rosie), as well as four bestselling books of nonfiction, Operating Instructions, an account of life as a single mother during her son’s first year and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, a guide to writing and the challenges of a writer’s life, Traveling Mercies, a collection of autobiographical essays on faith, and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.

We asked Dr. Christopher Rossi from Humanities Iowa to be the moderator for Anne, and I must say he seemed thrilled to be asked. Humanities Iowa has been a fantastic supporter of our AViD Author Series and we are pleased to have Chris be a part of this year’s event. In addition to being the executive director of Humanities Iowa, Chris teaches courses in public international law at the University of Iowa.

Next week, I will share information about our event on April 18 with writer Rainbow Rowell. Visit our web site for all the details. I hope to see you at several AViD events this year!

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