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"Hidden America" Author to Speak at Otterbein University

September 30, 2015
Otterbein University

Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of Otterbein University’s 2015 Common Book, Hidden America, will visit campus from Oct. 21-23 to discuss her book and attend other events related to the book and its overall theme.

Laskas will speak at a convocation at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 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 Thursday, Oct. 22, she will speak and sign books at an event sponsored by the Friends of Courtright Memorial Library at 7:30 p.m. in the library, 138 W. Main St. On Friday, Oct. 23, students of the Department of Theatre will present scenes and interpretations of Hidden Americaat 10:50 a.m. in the Campus Center Theatre, 100 W. Home St. All events are free and open to the public.

In her book, Hidden America, Laskas tells the stories of the people who make our lives run every day—and yet we barely think of them. Laskas spent several weeks with the men of Hopedale Mining Company in Cadiz, Ohio. She spent time with them both below and about ground. By the end, you will know all about their work; Pap and his dying mom; Smitty and the mail-order bride who stood him up at the airport; and Scotty and his thwarted dreams of becoming a boxing champion. Laskas also explores the hidden worlds of an Alaskan oil rig, a migrant labor camp in Maine, the air traffic control center at LaGuardia Airport in New York, a beef ranch in Texas, a landfill in California, a long-haul trucker in Iowa, a gun shop in Arizona and the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders.

Laskas is the author of six books, including the award-winning trilogy of memoirs: Fifty Acres and PoodleThe Exact Same Moon and Growing Girls. Most of her long-form journalism now appears in GQ, where she is a correspondent writing about everything from concussions to migrant workers to hit men. She has won more than a dozen Gold Quill awards for Excellence in Journalism, and her piece on coal mining, “Underworld,” was a finalist for the 2007 National Magazine Awards.

This is the 21st 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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