Ms. Keller will speak on "How libraries saved my life." Julia sent the following description to about libraries and their importance.
On at least three occasions, a library has had a profound and momentous impact on my life. Books and reading have always been important to me, going back to my childhood in Huntington, West Virginia, but it was the specific presence of a library -- a public space, a well-lighted room ringed by books that didn't belong to me but to which I had been granted the magical privilege of unlimited access -- that made a crucial difference. Each time, I found myself beset by a particular kind of loneliness -- not the loneliness of missing other people, but the loneliness of missing myself. Of having lost my way. Of not being sure anymore of who I was and what I valued. And it was those libraries -- the Gallagher Village branch of the Huntington Public Library, the James B. Morrow Library on the campus of Marshall University, and the Harold Washington Public Library in downtown Chicago -- that restored me to myself, through the books that I chose, or that perhaps chose me.
She will also talk about bout her latest book Fast Falls the Night, the sixth installment in the Bell Elkins mystery series. Set in her home state of West Virginia, these books are both gripping in their storytelling, and poignant in their depiction towns struggling to adapt to the challenges of modern life. Ms. Keller will take questions and sign books after her talk. Books will be available to purchase at a reception to follow the program on site, provided by Winchester Book Gallery.
Julia Keller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and former cultural critic at The Chicago Tribune, is the author of Fast Falls the Night, the sixth novel in the critically acclaimed series set in a small West Virginia town. The first book in the series, A Killing in the Hills (2012), was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, a Library Journal Debut of the Week and a featured selection in People. The other novels in the series are Bitter River, Summer of the Dead, Last Ragged Breath, and Sorrow Road.
Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton University. She has also taught at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and has served four times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.