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Lincoln in the Bardo

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 festivities include a live reading from Lincoln in the Bardo.

Members of Lawrence’s own Card Table Theater (Kitty Steffens of Arturo Ui fame and LPL’s Sarah Mathews), LPL executive director Brad Allen, host and KU English Department lecturer Adam Desnoyers, LPL Foundation’s Alice Ann Johnston, and Woodlawn Elementary 4th grader Alice Dorsey will perform a live reading from Lincoln in the Bardo with the author himself — George Saunders!

“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.”

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

Lincoln in the Bardo Community Audiobook 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Crypt Lit

Where does one store a souvenir Abraham Lincoln beard?  I bought mine years ago on a road trip with my father to see Lincoln historic sites in Springfield, Illinois, but I’ve never known what to do with it. After I was told to stop wearing it to work every day, I tried hanging it up with my ball caps for a while, but it got in the way. Then I tried my underwear drawer, but that was way too weird.

It finally found a home among my much neglected neckties, which makes sense because I inherited most of those from my dad, and I only keep the beard around as a memento of him. On the last day of our trip we visited Lincoln’s tomb, an impressive bastion of granite, marble, and bronze, beneath which the president lies with Mary Todd and three of their four sons: Tad, Edward, and Willie. This place was heaven for us, since my dad also left me his gene for walking battlefields, reading gravestones, and pondering the life of Honest Abe. Read More..