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Monday, April 24, 2000

National Book Award Finalist, Patricia Henley, Reads April 27

SALISBURY, MD---Patricia Henley, author of the novel Hummingbird House (MacMurray & Beck), a 1999 National Book Award finalist, reads from her work on Thursday, April 27, at 8 p.m. in the Montgomery Room of the Commons building at Salisbury State University.

Free and open to the public, the reading is part of the SSU English Department's Writers on the Shore series.

Hummingbird House is the story of Kate Banner, an American midwife who travels to Central America for a brief visit with her dearest friend, but the visit turns into a span of years and by the time the reader meets Kate, she's exhausted by years of service and her sad effort to love the wrong man. She is in Nicaragua, helping flood victims, when she unexpectedly loses a patient, a young woman who had given birth only the night before, on the bottom of a swamped wooden boat. That's when Kate decides it is time to go home.

Kate makes several kinds of journeys, but it is her journey north and into the seething secret wars of Guatemala that supply Kate with her greatest challenges, and her chances to love. In a time of disruption and change, new friendships blossom: with Dixie, a missionary priest, with Vidaluz, a Mayan woman protesting her husband's false arrest; with Marta, a motherless and silent little girl. Kate, who has for years delivered children into the world, discovers in Guatemala that she delivered herself.

Other works by Henley include two books of poetry, Back Roads (1996) and Learning to Die (1979), and two books of short stories, Cartwheels (1992) and Friday Night at Silver Star(1989).

For more information about Henley's reading or the Writers on the Shore series, please contact the SSU Department of English at 410-543-6445.


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