Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Kidder to speak Oct. 30

Tracy KidderTracy Kidder, author of the Oswego Reading Initiative selection “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” will discuss his acclaimed bestseller at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in SUNY Oswego’s Hewitt Union ballroom.

Tickets to his talk are free but, because of high demand, should be secured in advance through the college’s Tyler box office.

The book details physician Paul Farmer’s quest to combat world epidemics, from Haiti to Peru to Russia, and the impact he and his colleagues have had in helping humanity, especially the most impoverished.

Kidder’s other bestsellers include “The Soul of a New Machine,” “House,” “Among Schoolchildren” and “Home Town.” “The Soul of a New Machine” won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

Praised by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative,” Kidder wrote “Mountains Beyond Mountains” over the course of six years of interaction and world travel with Farmer and the doctor’s friends, colleagues and family.

Farmer is a non-traditional figure, a Harvard professor and infectious disease specialist who rejects the privileged life to live among and cure the poor of Haiti and elsewhere. Along the way, Kidder details how Farmer shows skill not only in curing infectious diseases, but in anthropology, economics, diplomacy and other problem-solving situations.

“‘Mountains Beyond Mountains’ is inspiring, disturbing, daring and completely absorbing,” Abraham Verghese wrote in the New York Times Book Review. “It will rattle our complacency; it will prick our conscience. One senses that Farmer’s life and work has affected Kidder, and it is a measure of Kidder’s honesty that he is willing to reveal this to the reader.”

SUNY Oswego Associate Provost Rhonda Mandel said Kidder’s account of Farmer’s quest to combat diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis in impoverished countries provides “a very compelling story” that is readable and thought provoking.

“You can’t walk away from the book without a better understanding of the world,” Mandel said. “There’s something really compelling about the notion that one person can make a difference.”

The Oswego Reading Initiative is an annual cooperative effort at SUNY Oswego to select one book for incoming freshman and the campus community to read for a common discussion point and related programming.

For tickets to Kidder’s presentation, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or tickets@oswego.edu

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(Posted: Oct 18, 2006)