"Nickel and Dimed" author, Barbara Ehrenreich, to speak at Fairfield University Convocation


Image: Barbara EhrenreichOne of America's most recognized and original social commentators, Barbara Ehrenreich, will deliver the fall Academic Convocation for freshmen at Fairfield University on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 4 p.m. on Bellarmine Lawn. In case of rain the convocation will be moved to the Kelley Theatre of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Ehrenreich will speak to the Class of 2007 about her book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, which describes her undercover attempt to survive while working various minimum-wage jobs usually held by the country's "invisible" working poor. A graduate of Reed College, with a Ph.D. in biology from Rockefeller University, she spent 1998 to 2000 in Florida, Maine and Minnesota, working a series of entry-level positions, including as a waitress, hotel housekeeper, maid, nursing home aide, and Wal-Mart clerk.

Her first-hand experience quickly showed her the impossibility of living on a $6 or $7-an-hour paycheck. "Something is wrong, very wrong," she wrote, "when a single person in good health, a person who in addition possesses a working car, can barely support herself by the sweat of her brow. You don't need a degree in economics to see that wages are too low and rents too high."

Ehrenreich's other books include Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (Metropolitan, 1997, hailed as "brilliant" by the New York Review of Books; The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed, described by The New York Times as "elegant, trenchant, savagely angry, morally outraged and outrageously funny; and Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class, nominated for a National Book Critics' Award in 1989.

She is also a frequent contributor to Time, Harper's Magazine, The New Republic, and The Nation, and has appeared on major network programs, such as Nightline, Charlie Rose and All Things Considered.

Ehrenreich has received a number of grants and awards for her work, including a Ford Foundation Award for Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Society, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a grant for Research and Writing from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 1980, she shared he National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting.

Nickel and Dimed was this year's summer reading selection for Fairfield's incoming freshmen.

To cover this event, please call Nancy Habetz, director of media relations, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 28, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 37