Kathryn Stockett, Author of the Best-selling Novel ‘The Help,’ Appears at Brenau Sept. 23

Aug 30, 2011
Rudi Kiefer

Kathryn StockettOriginally published on 9/09/09

Atlanta author Kathryn Stockett, whose novel, The Help, was No. 3 on the New York Times Best-seller List before settling into 4thplace this week, will appear at Brenau University on Wednesday, Sept. 23, for a special meeting with first-year students and for a public reading at 7:30 p.m. in Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center for Performing Arts.

There will be no admission charge for the public portion of Stockett’s appearance, but seating will be on a first-come basis. Following her appearance, Stockett will also sign copies of her book in the Leo Castelli Gallery across the Burd center lobby from the theater. The university bookstore will have copies of The Help available in the gallery for those who wish to purchase them.

Stockett’s appearance marks the second consecutive year that the university has brought to the Gainesville campus an author with a novel on the best-seller list. Last autumn it was Khaled Hosseini, whose second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was on the Times hardcover fiction list.

Both authors’ appearances primarily were scheduled for the benefit of first-year students at the women’s college, all of whom are required to read a common literary work as a part of their orientation process. Hosseini had previously published the internationally acclaimed novel, The Kite Runner, which is still a best-seller in soft-cover editions.

The Help is Stockett’s debut novel, but it has been receiving excellent reviews throughout the United States in addition to its broad public acceptance.

“It is an amazing experience for our students to be personally exposed to writers of this caliber,” said Ken Frank, chair of the Brenau humanities department and the overseer of the first-year seminar program. “And it is a bonus that we can invite the public to our campus for appearances by some of the most important writers of our time.”

Stockett grew up in Jackson, Miss. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and creative writing, then she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for close to a decade. She and her husband have one daughter, and they currently reside in the Atlanta area.

“I am really honored that Brenau University asked me to come and talk to its students,” Stockett said. “I really love getting to go on college campuses and interacting with people. “Then she added wryly, “I hope they don’t hate me because they were required to read my book.”

The Help is set in Mississippi in the racially torn early 1960s. It is a story of three women -two black, one white- who decide to dramatically break down the barriers of their racially segregated society.

Copies of the book are available now at Brenau’s campus bookstore at 510 Washington St. SE in Gainesville.

For more information about Stockett’s appearance, call 770-534-6160 or e-mail jbrown9@brenau.edu.