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Liberty Hall

George Saunders is our 2017 Beach Author!

Get ready for this year’s “matterlightblooming phenomenon” (read the book to find out what that means!) — Lincoln in the Bardo author George Saunders is our 2017 Ross & Marianna Beach Series pick!

Saunders will visit Lawrence on TuesdayOctober 10 at 7 PM at Liberty Hall in partnership with the University of Kansas Libraries and presented as part of the Libraries Love Lawrence initiative. Doors will open at 6 PM. A book signing follows the program and Raven Bookstore will sell copies of Mr. Saunders’ books.

The program is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

“George Saunders is a literary master at his peak,” said Brad Allen, Lawrence Public Library executive director. “He is a New York Times bestselling author, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner, and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.”

Best known as a master of the short story, Saunders published his first novel in February 2017. Lincoln in the Bardo debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and tells the story of Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie, who died in 1862. A grief-stricken Lincoln visits the crypt several times to hold his son’s body. That event inspired Saunders to set his novel in the bardo—a Tibetan purgatory—populated by bickering spirits that are both hilarious and terrifying. This month the book was one of 13 novels to earn a place on the prestigious Man Booker Prize longlist.

Following his public program at Liberty Hall, Saunders will visit KU on October 11 for a conversation with students on his creative writing process. “What an incredible opportunity for our students to learn from one of America’s most accomplished authors,” said Kevin Smith, Dean of KU Libraries. “We are honored to partner with Lawrence Public Library on this project.”


ABOUT THE SERIES

A gift to our community from the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation, this special series brings a prominent author to Lawrence each year. The series debuted in 2014 with National Book Award winner James McBride, followed by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Karen Russell (2015) and Pulitzer prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks (2016). The Libraries Love Lawrence initiative is a partnership of Lawrence Public Library and KU Libraries that works to build a stronger, more efficient and engaged library presence in Lawrence.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Andreas Laszlo Konrath for GQ Magazine

780s Series Presents Legendary Songwriter Jimmy Webb

We’re so excited to announce that songwriter Jimmy Webb is the library’s 780s Series music storyteller for 2017.

Webb is a songwriting legend.

Rolling Stone has called him one of the 50 greatest songwriters of all time and he’s worked with music megastars like Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, Richard Harris, The Fifth Dimension, and Art Garfunkel. He also wrote the soundtrack for The Last Unicorn.

Webb will take the Liberty Hall stage on Wednesday, July 19 at 7 PM to share stories and songs from his 50+ year music career. Named for the Dewey Decimal range for music, the 780s Series brings prominent music storytellers to Lawrence to share the stories behind their music. Previous guests have included Booker T. Jones (2015) and Kim Gordon (2016).

Made possible by the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation.

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Image courtesy of the artist.