Monday, October 12, 2009

Back to Blogging; Gordon-Reed Event

Happy Columbus Day! I just returned from a wonderful week in Nantucket…full report to come tomorrow.

In the mean time, here’s an event in Richmond that looks interesting:

Gordon-Reed Featured at October 17 Literary Luncheon

Annette Gordon-Reed, author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which won the 2008 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in history, is the featured author at the 2009 Library of Virginia Literary Luncheon on Saturday, October 17, at 11:30 am at the Hilton Garden Inn, 501 East Broad Street. Tickets are $35 per person and include valet parking until October 9th ($50 after October 9). Dan Roberts, associate professor at the University of Richmond and host of the radio series A Moment in Time, will moderate "A Lens on American Cultural History: A Conversation with Annette Gordon-Reed."

Gordon-Reed’s fascination with Thomas Jefferson began when she was in grade school in Texas and read a child’s biography of him. She first learned of Sally Hemings while reading her parent’s copy of Winthrop Jordan’s White Over Black.

Gordon-Reed’s first book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, came out in 1997, prior to the DNA study suggesting that one of the descendants of Sally Hemings was related to Jefferson. Her book laid out the long-overlooked evidence that an affair occurred between Jefferson and his slave.

In her prize-winning second book Gordon-Reed sets the Hemings’s compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. The book brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha.

The Pulitzer Prize citation calls The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,“a painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson.”

Roberts and Gordon-Reed will explore how the telling of the Hemings and Jefferson story has changed over the years and what this says about how the history of the country and the legacies of slavery, for whites and blacks, affect us today.

For more information: 804/992-3900 or click here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.