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Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks

Posted: December 18, 2008
Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, speaks about her new bestseller, People of the Book, at a lecture and book signing on Thursday, February 5, at 8:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall.

Hosted by the Art Conservation Department, Leslie Zemsky, who organized the event, will introduce the author.

Inspired by Brooks’ years as a Wall Street Journal war correspondent in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, People of the Book traces the history of an ancient Hebrew illuminated manuscript—the famed Sarajevo Haggadah—as it survives centuries of purges and wars, thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it.

History and adventure unfold through the perspective of heroine Hanna Heath, a rare book expert and conservator, who has landed the job of a lifetime: researching and conserving the legendary Sarajevo Haggadah. In its pages, Heath discovers a series of artifacts that propel her investigation, taking the reader back to the life and times of the people of the book: the Muslim librarian in Sarajevo who saved it from the Nazis during World War II; the Venetian ecclesiastical censor who in a fit of rage protected it from destruction; the scribe who wrote the text; and the mysterious illuminator whose striking illustrations grace its pages.

"Geraldine is not only a gifted writer she is also an engaging speaker.  While she has spoken to standing room only crowds on two occasions at the Chautauqua Institution, this will be her first time speaking in Buffalo," said Zemsky. "The enthusiastic support of a wide variety of co-sponsors is testament to what will be a very memorable talk at Rockwell Hall." 

Australian-born Brooks made her fiction-writing debut with Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, which was published in 10 countries and recognized as a 2001 New York Times Notable Book of the Year. For her second novel, March, Brooks received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Published in January 2008, People of the Book is a New York Times bestseller.

The event will include a display of Haggadoth from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, manuscripts from Temple Beth Zion’s Cofeld Museum, and information from the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College about the conservation of cultural treasures like these. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Rockwell Hall Box Office and Talking Leaves Books, by phone at (716) 878-3005 or online at Group discounts are available.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society; the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library; Buffalo Seminary; the Bureau of Jewish Education; the Chautauqua Institution; the University at Buffalo Department of English; the Jewish Community Center Book Fair; Just Buffalo Literary Center; the National Federation for Just Communities; Nichols School; the Park School; Talking Leaves Books; Temple Beth Am; Temple Beth Zion; Westminster Presbyterian Church; and WNED.
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