Award-winning author to keynote Big Read event

Daniel A. Reed Library announces that “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London has been selected for this year’s Big Read. To help celebrate London’s literary work, award-winning western historian James Haley will be the keynote speaker for this year’s program.

Haley is the author of 13 books, including, most recently, “Wolf: The Lives of Jack London” (Basic, 2010). His previous books include “Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas” (Free Press) and “Sam Houston: A Biography” (University of Oklahoma Press), which won the T. R. Fehrenbach Award from the Texas Historical Commission, the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize from the Texas State Historical Association, and the Spur Award from Western Writers of America.

Today, London is remembered as the essential juvenile adventure author. Nearly all of us read “The Call of the Wild,” “White Fang” or “The Sea-Wolf” when we were in school. Yet that memory does a prodigious injustice to this author. He was a sports journalist, an adventurer and travel writer, a war correspondent, a wildly inventive novelist, and in his time the most famous and highest paid writer in America. However, he was also a passionate crusader for social justice and the things that he found wrong with America child labor, economic oppression which people did not want to hear about.

Haley will present “Rediscovering Jack London” at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. The event is free. Opera House doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Copies of “The Call of the Wild” and Haley’s “Wolf: The Lives of Jack London” are available for purchase locally at The Book Nook.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

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