Author Jeannette Walls coming to campus
By Ellie Sadinsky Jeffrey
This year’s Queen’s Reads program culminates on Saturday night with a public talk, Q & A and book-signing in Grant Hall by the author of this year’s chosen book, The Glass Castle.
Virginia-based Jeannette Walls wrote the international best-selling memoir about her unconventional childhood and the poverty, chaos and adventures she and her siblings experienced with their creative, but dysfunctional, parents. Her visit to Kingston is jointly sponsored by Queen’s and Kingston’s WritersFest.
Queen’s Reads is a common reading program designed to help the incoming first-year class prepare for and adjust to university life. More than one-third of the class opted-in to the program, receiving a copy of the book to read over the summer. Well over 400 students discussed the book in faculty, staff or student-led small groups during residence orientation.
“We are pleased with the engagement shown by the students who participated in this year’s program,” says Arig Girgrah, Assistant Dean, Student Life and Learning in the Division of Student Affairs. “We are also very grateful to the faculty members, staff and students who facilitated discussion groups earlier this month and we look forward to this weekend’s public event with Ms Walls.”
Almost 60 students entered a creative writing contest based on the memoir. The winners will be invited to meet with Ms Walls when she’s on campus.
Last year’s contest winner, Grace Tahhan (ArtSci’16) helped choose The Glass Castle as this year’s book and she says the Queen’s Reads makes for a perfect transition from high school to university academics.
“The program not only works as a conversation starter during Orientation Week but also extends throughout the school year and beyond as a shared topic of interest between all first year students,” she says. “Through reading The Glass Castle, students have been able to interact and become engaged members of the Queen's community before they even arrive on campus, not to mention that it also familiarizes them with the academic expectations of university and keeps them engaged during the summer. Jeannette Walls has a brilliant ability to captivate an audience, equally as a storyteller and a public speaker, both of which Queen’s students are fortunate enough to experience with this year’s program.”
The talk will be held on Saturday, September 21 in Grant Hall at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
All Queen’s students can attend for free when they show their student ID at the door. The first 200 students who arrive can get a free copy of The Glass Castle. Copies will also be available for purchase.
Non-students can purchase tickets online through Kingston WritersFest and The Grand Theatre.