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Friday, August 24, 2007

'The Glass Castle' Author Jeannette Walls Speaks Friday, August 24

Jeannette Walls
Convocation Photo Gallery
SALISBURY, MD---From wearing shoes held together with safety pins to coloring her skin with markers to disguise holes in her clothes, Jeannette Walls grew up the child of poor, eccentric parents too determined to give up on life.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves thanks to—and often in spite of—their free-spirit mother, a brilliant but often drunk and destructive father, and others who became part of their young lives. Today a freelance correspondent for MSNBC.com, Walls captures her impoverished, sometimes humorous, early life in her memoir The Glass Castle, this year’s SU New Student Reader.

Entertainment Weekly calls The Glass Castle “nothing short of spectacular.” The community will have an opportunity to hear Walls speak about her acclaimed work 6 p.m. Friday, August 24, in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall. A book signing is 5-5:45 p.m.

“In many college towns the new student reader program is a community event, and the entire city is invited to read the book,” said Dr. Diane Davis, co-chair of the program at SU. “We are suggesting that this might be a good summer read for Salisbury and invite the public to campus to hear Walls speak.”

“Each year we have been building on the program and this year we've added, an art and essay contest through which students may express their thoughts on the book creatively, " said  Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, director of New Student Experience and New Student Reader Committee co-chair.

The results are on display in the Atrium Gallery of the Guerrieri University Center Thursday, August 23-Tuesday, August 28. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

Through the New Student Reader Program, students are able to connect instantly with faculty, staff and other students during discussions that encourage critical thinking and interaction.

"One of our goals is to stimulate discussion, debate, and critical thinking centered on a common book's theme,” said Dockins-Gordy. "We so much want the campus to be involved, our office will provide a copy of the book at request while supplies last."

“An important program goal is to prepare students for entrance into an academic community where reading, independent analysis, discussion and writing are crucial and valued skills,” said Davis. “In general, students have reacted positively to the program during its first two years, forging friendships and gaining a better understanding of the academic experience.”

The book is required summer reading. Walls also addresses the campus community during SU’s annual Fall Convocation 9 a.m. Friday, August 24, and students participate in small group discussions regarding the book. Winners of the art and essay contests are recognized during Convocation.

The reading, signing and exhibit are free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.



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