Monday, April 02, 2012

The Celebration of Ideas Lecture Series at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College brings nationally prominent speakers of diverse viewpoints to campus each fall and spring. “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks was the selected work for the campus-wide Common Reading Project for 2011-2012. In culmination of that project, Brooks will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in Colebank Hall Gym as part of the lecture series.

“It is our goal to create a campus environment where open exchange of ideas is both promoted and celebrated,” said Dr. Quentin Johnson, Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.

“We believe that the development of our student body must include exposure to a variety of ideas. Through this exposure, our students will be better prepared to operate in an increasingly complex society. We are very fortunate to be able to bring this diverse and talented group of speakers into North Central West Virginia. The 2011-2012 Celebration of Ideas Lecture Series seeks to provide a variety of perspectives as they pertain to national and global issues.”

As part of the Common Reader project, lectures by faculty members focusing on the time period and issues from “Year of Wonders” have been taking place on campus. The last of those lectures will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, April 2, in Multi-media Room B of the Ruth Ann Musick Library. Dr. Fran Davey will discuss “Woman and Roles/Witch Hunts.”

Admission is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. For more information, call the Student Affairs Office at (304) 367-4215. Sign Language Interpreting and other accommodations for those with disabilities are available by request by contacting Andrea Pammer by phone at (304) 367-4686 or e-mail at Andrea.Pammer@fairmontstate.edu or Andrea.Pammer@pierpont.edu.

The novel “Year of Wonders” tells the story of the last major outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through her eyes, readers follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Frith must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes a “year of wonders.”

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.

In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans.

She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel “March.” Her first novel, “Year of Wonders,” is an international bestseller and “People of the Book” is a New York Times bestseller translated into 20 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works “Nine Parts of Desire” and “Foreign Correspondence.”

Brooks married author Tony Horwitz in Tourette-sur-Loup, France, in 1984. They have two sons– Nathaniel and Bizuayehu–and two dogs. They divide their time between homes in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Sydney, Australia.