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2014 Common Book Author to Speak at Otterbein Convocation

Naomi Benaron will discuss her book, Running the Rift

October 8, 2014

Westerville, OH— Naomi Benaron, author of Otterbein University’s 2014 common book, Running the Rift, will visit campus on Oct. 21 and 22 to discuss her book and attend other events related to the book and its overall theme.

Benaron will speak at a convocation at 3 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 21, in Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St. There will be a book signing reception immediately following the convocation in the Roush Gallery. On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Department of Theatre will present scenes and interpretations from Running the Rift at 10:50 a.m. in the Campus Center Theatre, 100 W. Home St., and the Friends of the Courtright Memorial Library will host a small lecture and book signing at 7:30 p.m. in the Library, 138 W. Main St. All events are free and open to the public.

In her book, Running the Rift, Benaron tells the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a Rwandan boy whose country is overcome by tension that arises between the Hutu and Tutsi people. Although times are tough and oppression is at an all-time high, Jean Patrick stays true to his dream of one day becoming Rwanda’s first Olympic medal contender in track. When the killing begins and Jean Patrick is faced with the challenge of leaving the woman, the family, and the country he loves, and embarks on what will be the race of his life.

Benaron is a fiction writer and poet with a master’s degree in fiction from Antioch University in Los Angeles. Her short stories have won awards, including the 2006 Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction, and have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, JewishFiction.net, Spillway Journal, Blast Furnace and Prime Number.

After receiving degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Benaron began a career as a seismologist and geophysicist for companies including Mobil Oil and a consulting company for JPL. She now teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers Program and serves as a mentor to Afghan women through AWWP, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, an online group where Afghan women can express themselves in safety and in freedom.

This is the 20th year for the Common Book program, which is supported by The Thomas Academic Excellence Series and is intended to create intellectual excitement and strengthen bonds on campus by providing a shared academic experience for many surrounding an annual academic theme. For more information about the University’s Common Book program, contact Jennifer Bechtold at (614) 823-3202 or visit www.otterbein.edu/commonbook.


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