Award-winning Author Katherine Paterson Coming to Southern Vermont College

March 20, 2010

Award-winning Vermont children’s book author Katherine Paterson, whose new book, “The Day of the Pelican,” was published in October, will visit two schools in Southern Vermont on March 30 as part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s Vermont Reads 2010 program.

Paterson will visit Southern Vermont College’s Everett Theatre for a talk and Q&A from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by a reception and book signing from 8 to 9 p.m. Southern Vermont College is located at 982 Mansion Drive in Bennington. This event is free and open to the public. The author will also speak to students at Riverside Middle School in Springfield that day for a private reading.

“It’s a real privilege to travel the state with Katherine Paterson and see the reception she enjoys from Vermonters of all ages,” said Vermont Reads Director Mark Fitzsimmons. “We’re pleased to be partnering with Southern Vermont College in bringing Katherine in person to readers in southwestern Vermont.”

Paterson, who was recently named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, has long been revered as one of Vermont’s preeminent authors. She has written more than thirty books for children. Her novels often deal with difficult themes such as jealousy or death; her prose helps young and old readers alike deal with these issues with strength and perseverance.

“The Day of the Pelican,” Paterson’s latest book, recounts the journey of a Muslim family fleeing ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and landing in Vermont. The family’s courage is tested by hunger, illness and a long, dangerous journey that eventually takes them to America. Paterson’s sensitive, powerful story conveys a sense of the experiences of many of our newest Vermonters. The book is the latest pick for Vermont Reads, VHC’s statewide one-book community reading program that began in 2003.

Communities around the state will have the opportunity to bring people together to read, discuss and build activities around the book. Vermont Reads promotes community-building, open dialogue, intergenerational exchange, a focus on the humanities and literacy. In 2010, readers will have the chance to explore and consider the plight of refugees and the experience of immigrants in America.

“We select books that we feel will resonate with readers of all levels and with people from diverse backgrounds,” said Fitzsimmons. “Vermont Reads books connect to Vermonters in fundamental, humanistic ways, and help connect Vermonters to each other through shared discussion and community-based activities that grow out of the book.”

 NRG Systems of Hinesburg is the underwriter for the 2010 Vermont Reads program; it also underwrote the program in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The media sponsor and partner is Vermont Public Radio. VPR will air features on “The Day of the Pelican,” and Katherine Paterson will make further Vermont Reads appearances in the spring and fall. 

Each year more than sixty-five towns and cities─and tens of thousands of people─take part in Vermont Reads. 

For more information on Paterson’s appearance at Southern Vermont College on March 30, contact Director of Communications Susan Biggs at 802-447-6389 or e-mail communications@svc.edu. 

For general information on Vermont Reads 2010 or to involve your community, visit www.vermonthumanities.org or contact Jessica Santucci at jsantucci@vermonthumanities.org or call 802-262-2626, ext. 304. 

The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters─of every background and in every community. The Council envisions a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs and continues to learn throughout life.