SUNDANCE, UTAH (March 8, 2010)—Sundance Resort, in partnership with the Redford Center, presents its eighth year of its popular Tree Room Author Series. "This year's series features an eclectic array of outstanding authors to discuss the most timely and compelling issues of the day, as well as the timeless issues of finding meaning in life, relationships and human narrative," commented Lee Bycel, Redford Center Director. "From the landmark presidency of Barak Obama to behind the front lines in the war in Iraq to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, from the essential role of our national parks system to the redemption of child soldiers, this year's series will enlighten and inspire audiences while broadening our collective perspective on the world in which we live."
"Sundance is proud to announce such a powerful line up of authors to the Tree Room Author Series. It is exciting to be able to bring these diverse voices to Sundance to share their stories, experiences and ideas," commented Chad Linebaugh, Sundance General Manager.
Representing the diverse genres of memoir, narrative nonfiction and this year's series will enlighten and inspire audiences while broadening our collective perspective on the world in which we live. Representing the diverse genres of memoir, narrative nonfiction and fiction, the 2010 series includes the following authors:
April 10 - Ishmael Beah, "A Long Way Gone: Memories of a Boy Soldier"
When Ishmael Beah penned the compelling story of his childhood in "Sierra Leone, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Soldier", the author, now twenty-six years old, became one of the first former child soldiers to tell his story in his own words. In 2007, "A Long Way Gone" was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category, and named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the year. At the age of twelve, Beah had fled attacking rebels. By thirteen, he'd been captured and forced to fight for the government army. Eventually released and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he ultimately overcame the struggle to regain his humanity. Today, having completed his high school and college education in New York, Beah is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division Advisory Committee. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps War-fighting Laboratory, and many other NGO panels on children affected by war.
May 22 - Shelton Johnson, author of "Gloryland"
A broadly talented poet, author, park ranger and documentarian, Shelton Johnson was recently recognized for his exceptional service as a Yosemite National ranger with the Freeman Tilden Award, the highest given by the National Park Service for excellence in interpretation. He was featured extensively in Ken Burns' landmark documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," reflecting on his twenty years of experience working in parks nationwide, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Basin, and the National Mall. In his recent novel, "Gloryland," Johnson confronts America's history with racism to follow a sharecropper's son from South Carolina to a career as a Buffalo Soldier with the U.S. Cavalry of the late 1800s. Deeply concerned with a general lack of racial diversity across the National Park System and with who will advocate for parks as the country's demographics shift in the coming decades, Johnson has worked to share the previously untold stories of diverse peoples in national parks. His goal through his writing is to foster a spiritual connection between African-Americans and the wilderness landscape.
June 26 - Jonathan Alter, author of "The Promise: President Obama, Year One"
Jonathan Alter is an award-winning columnist, television analyst and author. He frequently interviews American presidents and other world leaders, regularly breaks news and has authored more than 50 Newsweek cover stories on everything from shrinking confidence in the American news media, to Bill Clinton's first interview after leaving the presidency, to Barack Obama's first magazine cover before he arrived in the U.S. Senate to Alter's personal story of living with cancer. Since 1991, Alter has written a widely acclaimed Newsweek column that examines politics, media and social and global issues. For more than a decade, he has worked as a contributing correspondent to NBC News. His 2006 book, "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope," was a national bestseller. His highly anticipated new book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One" is slated for release in May. The 2008 campaign marked the seventh presidential election Alter has covered for Newsweek. Among his exclusives in the 2008 campaign season were that Barack Obama would seek the presidency (October, 2006), that Mike Huckabee would be a factor in the GOP contest (August 2007) and that after a quarrel with President Clinton, Sen. Edward Kennedy was likely to endorse Obama. (January, 2008). Beyond politics and media, he has written extensively over the years about terrorism, anti-Semitism, at-risk children, national service and a wide variety of other issues.
August 14 - Ann Patchett, author of "Run"
Ann Patchett solidified her place in American literature with a breadth of work that includes award winning novels beginning with her first book, "The Patron Saint of Liars," in 1992, and continuing with subsequent novels, "Taft" in 1994, "The Magician's Assistant" in 1997, "Bel Canton," 2001, and "Run" in 2007. Her nonfiction works include "Truth and Beauty: A Friendship," 2004 and "What Now?," 2008. Each book has garnered praise and awards, including the New York Times Most Notable book in 1992 for "The Patron Saint of Liars." Patchett's second novel, "Taft," was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best work of fiction in 1994 and "The Magician's Assistant," was short-listed for England's Orange Prize and earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship. "Bel Canto," won both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in 2002, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named the Book Sense Book of the Year. "Truth & Beauty" was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Entertainment Weekly. "Truth & Beauty" was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Alex Award from the American Library Association. In "Run," she illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative.
October 30 - David Finkel, author of "The Good Soldiers"
In his most recent title, "The Good Soldiers," Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel vividly chronicles the extraordinary circumstances of modern combat he experienced first hand between January 2007 and June 2008, when he spent fifteen months with a battalion of 800 U.S. Army soldiers as they carried out "the surge" and worked to secure a volatile area of Baghdad. Touted in the headlines as a success story, Finkel's account is a day to day report of what these soldiers experienced, the harrowing truth of war. Its honest depiction of the reality of war shines a spotlight on the ever widening gap between media headlines and reality, the PR war and the real war. The soldiers fighting the good fight are no longer nameless faces, but now leap to life. They are real people with real lives, real hopes, dreams, fears. It is this portrait of the human condition put to extreme tests that make Finkel's book so compelling. It transcends the politics of war to give a truthful and forthright portrayal of the cost war exacts from us—perhaps man's most costly addiction of all. Finkel is currently assigned to the national Washington Post staff as an enterprise reporter, and has previously worked for the Post's foreign staff division.
December 11- Kathryn Stockett, "The Help"
Upon its publication in early 2009, Kathryn Stockett's wildly popular and critically praised debut novel, "The Help," captured the national imagination. A story about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early 1960s, "The Help" has been at the top of the New York Times best-seller list for nearly fifty weeks, where it currently holds the number one spot for hardcover fiction. The book has also generated its share of controversy, with many reviewers asking the questions, Is it appropriate for a white woman from Jackson, Mississippi to write in the voices of black maids? Does Kathryn Stockett succeed at effectively capturing their lives and struggles? The New York Times ultimately calls it "[a] button-pushing…winning novel," while USA Today pronounced the book "thought-provoking...[a] pitch-perfect depiction of a country's gradual path toward integration…One of the best debut novels of the year."
In keeping with Sundance's spirit of community, this year's event features a reduced price to make this series more accessible and to foster a setting for creative ideas, voices and diversity. Tickets are now $75 and include the lecture and discussion, a signed copy of the author's book and brunch in the award winning Tree Room and gratuity. Alcohol is not included. Advance reservations are required. Tickets are available by calling the Sundance Resort at 866-734-4428.
ABOUT THE REDFORD CENTER:
The Redford Center inspires positive social and environmental change through the arts, education and civil discourse. Our approach? Convene the operatives of change, nurture them and see what happens. Invite voices into the dialog that are not always included. Listen carefully. Find compelling storylines and skillful storytellers to create understanding and impact. Inspire innovation and action. Visit www.redfordcenter.org for more information.
ABOUT SUNDANCE RESORT
Nestled at the base of 12,000-foot Mt. Timpanogos, the Sundance Resort is a 5,000-acre destination resort, committed to maintaining the balance of art, nature and recreation. Sundance offers diverse mountain recreation experiences and encourages the cultivation of art and self-expression, as well as the preservation of the land. Created by Robert Redford, Sundance is a haven for discovery and inspiration, featuring 100 well-appointed cottages and homes consistent with the Sundance brand. The Sundance family of companies includes the Sundance Resort, Sundance Institute, Sundance Channel, Sundance Cinemas and Sundance Catalog. For more information on Sundance, call 801-225-4107 or visit our website, www.sundanceresort.com.