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Author & DePauw Alumna Barbara Kingsolver at Heart of Reading Campaign

May 3, 2001

May 3, 2001, Greencastle, Ind. - Thousands of people across the state of Kentucky will be picking up the same book this month. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, a 1977 graduate of DePauw University, is at the center of a campaign called “What If All Kentucky Reads the Same Book?” (at left: cover of KET's May program guide)

In an effort being spearheaded by KET (Kentucky Educational Television), more than 8,300 people across Kentucky have pledged to read The Bean Trees during the month of May, and many plan to go about it with gusto. At Madisonville North Hopkins High School, 85 students are working on a project built around The Bean Trees that includes a classroom web site. Youth centers, book clubs, libraries and colleges are also planning special events. Kingsolver herself will join in a live, call-in program that airs May 31 on KET.

Barbara Kingsolver was raised in eastern Kentucky and left the region to attend DePauw, where she majored in biology, and took one creative writing course. Kingsolver received a masters of science degree from the University of Arizona at Tucson, then became a freelance feature writer. In 1995, DePauw awarded Kingsolver with an honorary doctorate of letters degree. Besides The Bean Trees, her books include The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven and her mostKingsolver Poisonwood Bible recent work, Prodigal Summer. Kingsolver talked with NPR (National Public Radio) when that book was released last October. You can hear the interview at http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/atc/20001023.atc.17.ram

“I enter into a contract with my readers: If you give me 10 hours of your time, I promise you won't regret it,” Kingsolver told the Kansas City Star in April, 2000. “I will give you a reason to turn every page. I will give you things to think about that you may never have thought about before, at least in these terms. And when you close the book, after the last page, you might be a different person. The view from where you sit will be a little different.”

More than eight thousand people across the state of Kentucky are in for a most illuminating month. For more information on “What If All Kentucky Reads the Same Book?” go to http://www.ket.org/bookclub/whatif

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