“Since its inception, memoir has been one of the most contested and most popular genres,” said Ben Yagoda, who in 2009 wrote Memoir: A History. The number of memoirs published between 2005 and 2009 increased over 400 percent, and this trend continues. He reminds us that this irresistible genre is both ancient and very new. We could start with fifth century Confessions of St. Augustine, then jump to relatively recent accounts of the lives of Tobias Wolff, Joan Didion, Mary Karr, Jeanette Walls, Patti Smith and have a good laugh with David Sedaris.
On Saturday, February 18, 2012, you are invited to spend time with nine diverse and fascinating memoirists on Telfair Square, along with other acclaimed authors of biography, fiction, lifestyle, contemporary issues, history and poetry. And all of this is FREE and open to the public!
Dawn Baker, a Riceboro, Georgia native is a WTOC news anchor who has traveled to Ghana, Nigeria and Guatemala, where she produced award-winning documentaries about these poverty stricken areas. Dawn’s Daughter: Everything a Woman Needs to Know, Baker’s first book, teaches teens and young women valuable lessons on relationships, careers and achieving rewarding lives.
Pat Conroy’s latest work, My Reading Life, celebrates the writers and stories that influenced, beguiled and led him to become a man of letters. Conroy has written nine books, among them the novels The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides. His touching narratives and richly drawn characters, often inspired by his own life in and around his beloved Low Country, have earned him legions of fans and numerous honors, including the F.Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe prizes.
Melissa Fay Greene has written five books of nonfiction. Twice nominated for the National Book Award, her books—including Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, and There is No Me Without You—have won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Southern Books Critics Circle Award, among others. Greene’s new book, No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, is a look at the perils and pleasures of mega-parenthood. She and her husband, Don Samuel, live in Atlanta, where they are raising nine children: four by birth, one adopted from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia.
Karl Marlantes, author of the recently published What It is Like to Go to War, is a graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam and earned the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts and ten air medals. His debut book, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and designated a “Best of 2010” in Time, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire and the Washington Post.
Michael Oher’s I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond is a remarkable look at a childhood surviving poverty, foster care, dangerous Memphis projects and an absent mother. Many will recognize Oher’s story of how he came to live with the affluent Tuohy family through Michael Lewis’s acclaimed book, as well as the Oscar-winning film, The Blind Side. Oher’s own memoir, I Beat the Odds, brings his perspective to the journey, leading to a successful football career with the Baltimore Ravens. Though Oher’s love for and gratitude to the Tuohy family is obvious, he makes it clear in his book that Leigh Anne Tuohy did not teach him how to play football.
Janisse Ray’s Drifting into Darien is part love song to the Altamaha River, part rant against the forces that destroy it. Ray has written four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, was followed by Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, followed by Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land. Ray has won a Southern Booksellers Award for Poetry in 2011, a Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction in 1999, an American Book Award in 2000, the Southern Environmental Law Center 2000 Award for Outstanding Writing and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award in 2000.
Sonny Seiler and Kent Hannon are co-authors of Damn Good Dawgs. Sonny Seiler is an attorney in Savannah and owner of the English bulldogs who have served as the University of Georgia’s mascot since 1956. He was the victorious attorney in the murder trial made famous in the best-selling book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He later appeared with Uga V in Clint Eastwood’s film version of that book. Kent Hannon is editor of Terry Magazine at UGA’s Terry College of Business. He has been a staff writer at Sports Illustrated, a bureau chief for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and editor of Georgia Magazine.
Captain Scotty Smiley is the author of HOPE UNSEEN: The Story Behind the U.S. Army’s First Blind Active-Duty Officer. On April 6, 2005, Captain Smiley, a Ranger and combat-diver qualified infantryman, lost the use of both eyes when a suicide car bomber blew himself up thirty meters in front of Scotty’s Stryker vehicle. Since that day, Scotty Smiley has surfed in Hawaii, skied in Vail, skydived, climbed Mount Rainier, completed a triathlon and received an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The Army Times named Captain Smiley its “Soldier of the Year” in 2007, and in 2008 he won an ESPY as the world’s Best Outdoor Athlete. Scotty, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, recently taught the core course in leadership at West Point and now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point’s Keller Army Medical Center. Captain Smiley was recently named a recipient of the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award. Please visit www.hopeunseen.com/video-archive/trailer.
A limited number of tickets for the Isaacson presentation are available and can be obtained in person at the SCAD Box Office, or by calling (912) 525-5050 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday or at www.scadboxoffice.com. There will be a limit of four tickets to one purchaser.
These and many other author presentations will take place in and around Telfair Square in the heart of Historic Savannah, taking advantage of its beautiful churches, parks and heritage sites including Trinity Church, the Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center for the Arts.
The Savannah Book Festival Inc. is an independent, non-profit corporation led by a volunteer board of directors. It is committed to remaining free and open to the public and to celebrating the written word and its role in improving the human experience. For more information, please contact Executive Director Robin Gold at (912) 598 4040, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.savannahbookfestival.org.