Best-selling author Mary Karr speaks at Fairfield University February 25


Image: Mary Karr

Award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist Mary Karr will appear at Fairfield University for a reading and book signing of "Lit: A Memoir," the sequel to her bestseller, "The Liars' Club" and her second memoir, "Cherry," as part of University College's The Inspired Writer: The Distinguished Author Series on Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Barone Campus Center's Oak Room at 7:00 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, is made possible through the collaborative efforts of University College's Community Partner, Fairfield Public Library. The event is a feature of Fairfield University's 2009-2010 Arts & Minds Season.

"Lit" chronicles Karr's descent into alcoholism and madness and her astonishing resurrection as she comes to terms with her Christian faith after years of struggle and depression. The New York Times called it a "... searing new memoir ... a book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won't let you go ... the book is every bit as absorbing as Ms. Karr's devastating 1995 memoir, The Liars' Club, ... eloquent ... affecting book."

"Lit" follows her memoir "Cherry" by nine years. In "Lit," Karr delves deeper into her self-destructive patterns and comes out on the other side of her pain through her unlikely, as she describes it, conversion to Catholicism. In a Nov. 2009 interview with NPR's Terry Gross, Karr admitted that her vices dominated her no matter how much self-awareness she gained. "I didn't want to stop drinking," Karr told Gross. "I didn't quit drinking because I wanted to stop drinking. I want to do all these things that aren't particularly good for me. My hells are pretty much self-constructed."

Her escape from her hell came with her Catholic conversion although she acknowledges that discussion of her newly found religious conviction might turn some audiences away. "Talking about spiritual activity to a secular audience is like doing card tricks on the radio," Karr quipped to Gross.

Typical of Karr's courage was her need to finish "Lit" and bring it to the public. "I know God wanted me to write this book. That doesn't mean he wants it to be a bestseller ... But something about surrendering a lot of that stuff, it just quiets the fear in my head."

"Lit" was named one of the top ten books of 2009 by the New York Times Sunday Book Review, one of the top ten non-fiction books of the year by Time Magazine, and it appears on Michiko Kakutani's (New York Times) top ten book list.

Reservations for the signing are suggested and can be made at the University by calling (203) 254-4110 or by calling the Fairfield Public Library at (203) 256-3160.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 17, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 197