Writer, Naturalist Janisse Ray Will Speak at UNCP
Award-winning writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray will speak Thursday, Oct. 23, at 3:30 p.m. in the Main Reading Room of the Mary Livermore Library at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Ray will present a lecture titled "Radical Sustainability" and will meet with students in several classes to discuss "Literatures of Ecoliteracy and Environmental Justice."
The public is invited to attend Ray's lecture, which will be followed by a reception sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
Ray's visit is made possible by the University's Office of Academic Affairs, Teaching and Learning Center and Department of English and is coordinated by Drs. Scott Hicks and Jane Haladay of the English and American Indian Studies departments respectively.
"Janisse is an amazing writer, and we are excited to have her here on campus," Hicks said. "You will be moved by her story and inspired by her vision of the natural world we live in."
Ray's writing and activism champion the South's pine forests and the people who live in this important, distinct ecosystem. In North Carolina, only 500 old-growth acres of longleaf pine forest remains, she writes. According to the N.C. Nature Conservancy, a partnership of government officials and nonprofit agencies are working to preserve almost 25,000 acres of longleaf pine woods in the Sandhills.
Ray's childhood in Georgia offers her a compassionate perspective on the lives and histories of the people who call the longleaf pine forests home. In her memoir, "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood," Ray describes growing up in a junkyard and understanding the connection of human culture, economics and society to the health of the environment.
The book is widely acclaimed, garnering a Southeastern Booksellers Award, an American Book Award, a Southern Environmental Law Center Award for Outstanding Writing and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award. It was a New York Times "Notable Book."
Besides being a plea to protect and restore the glorious pine flatwoods of the South, "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood" (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1999) looks at family, mental illness, poverty and fundamentalist religion. Anne Raver of The New York Times writes, "The forests of the South (have found) their Rachel Carson."
In addition, Ray is the author of two other books of literary nonfiction. Her second book, "Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home" (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2003), centers on rural community. Her third book, "Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land" (White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green, 2005), tells the story of a 750,000-acre wild corridor between south Georgia and north Florida.
Her essays appear in anthologies and in periodicals such as O, The Oprah Magazine and Orion, and she has been featured on Georgia and Vermont public radio.
Ray is a member of the faculty of Chatham University's low-residency MFA program. She has taught at Coastal Carolina University, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Mississippi, Keene State College and Green Mountain College.
Ray lectures widely on nature, community, organic agriculture, native plants, sustainability and the politics of wholeness. As an organizer and activist, she works to create sustainable communities, local food systems, a stable global climate, intact ecosystems, clean rivers, life-enhancing economies and participatory democracy. She is a founding board member of Altamaha Riverkeeper and serves on the board of the Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College and Satilla Riverkeeper.
Ray tries to live a simple, sustainable life on a family farm in southern Georgia. She is a gardener. Her books are available for purchase from the UNCP Bookstore and at the event.
For more information, contact Haladay at (910) 521-6485 or email@example.com or Hicks at (910) 775-4032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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