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October 26, 2022

Discover the Magic of Author Elizabeth Strout with Jay Bonner and Clay Smith ’90

Who Am I To Tell This Story?: Elizabeth Strout’s Prize Winning Lucy Barton Novels

The goal of this course, taught by former John William Pope Foundation Distinguished Humanities Teacher and current Senior Teacher and Ambassador for Constituent Outreach Jay Bonner and Clay Smith ’90, Literary Director at the Library of Congress, is to discover the magic of Elizabeth Strout’s most recent award-winning novels, all narrated by the singular voice of one of Strout’s most enduring narrative creations, Lucy Barton. Strout’s fiction has earned the Pulitzer Prize, among other awards, and the first two of the Lucy Barton novels were each nominated for the Booker Prize.

Novels will include (and will be read in this sequential order): My Name Is Lucy Barton, Oh William!, and Strout’s most recent, set during the pandemic, Lucy by the Sea. This course will meet via Zoom for three to four sessions, beginning the week of November 7 and ending no later than the week of December 5. Classes will run approximately 60 minutes, depending on the material. We will meet Wednesday (and Tuesday, if enrollment requires two sections) evenings from 7:00 p.m. to roughly 8:00 p.m. ET, depending on the session.

If interested, please contact Jay Bonner ([email protected]) by Friday, November 4. Final determination of the schedule will be sent to those interested by November 6—unless demands necessitates more than one evening of classes, in which case we will contact you by asking for your evening preference(s). The final schedule, in this event, would be emailed November 7. We will start our discussions, regardless, with My Name Is Lucy Barton.

This course is offered free of charge; your only expense is your time commitment and the purchase of the necessary reading materials. Thornwell Books, a bookstore in Morganton, North Carolina, operated by past parent Jean VanNoppen (PP ’07, ’08, ’11, ’12) and Ellen VanNoppen ’08, would be happy to aid your purchase of the books. Please feel free to contact Thornwell Books at (828)434-1122 for a copy of the books—or, even better, use the store’s online portal at https://bookshop.org/shop/thornwellbooks