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Loyola University New Orleans and the National Book Foundation bring award-winning author, Kimberly Willis Holt, to Sophie B. Wright Middle School

Loyola press release - February 20, 2001

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans and the National Book Foundation are bringing "The Pleasures of Reading" program and author Kimberly Willis Holt to Sophie B. Wright Middle School on Tuesday, March 20, 2001. Holt, winner of the 1998 National Book Award for young people’s literature for When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, will discuss her writing process with Wright students. She also has written My Louisiana Sky, Mister and Me, and a new book to be published on March 19, Dancing in Cadillac Light.

This program, funded by Waldenbooks, introduces National-Book-Award-winning authors who discusses their personal relationship between reading and the writing life. By enlisting the energies of noted authors, the foundation works to shed light on the writing process, with its pleasures and challenges, to a broader audience.

Holt has Louisiana roots as her parents were both born in Forest Hill, La. However, her father was in the Navy and was transferred often, allowing her to grow up across the world. But Holt has said she felt most at ease in her parent’s hometown, near Alexandria, where they once lived for 18 months and has placed many her stories in fictional towns based on the region.

Holt began writing as an adult but still maintains a valid voice of the young people in her books. She will read from and discuss her books on March 21 at 7 p.m., in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall, on Loyola’s main campus, 6363 St. Charles Avenue. The public is invited, especially young readers who are encouraged to take part in the discussion about her books and her writing process.

The National Book Foundation, established in 1950, sponsors the National Book Award in an effort to raise the cultural value of great writing in America. This award is considered the nation’s most prestigious literary prize. "The Pleasures of Reading" program began in 1990. Since then 26 authors have visited 22 different states, interacting with readers of all ages. This program is the foundation’s longest sustained, corporately supported outreach program.

For more information about the March 21 reading, call the Office of Public Affairs, 861-5888. Based on the heritage of Catholic Jesuit higher education in Louisiana since 1849, Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. Today, the university serves approximately 5,550 undergraduate and graduate students.