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Ruth Ozeki talk now available online!

Varsity Hall was full to the brim on Monday night—literally, as we had to turn people away at the door! If you were one of the unlucky few who got there after all the seats were full, or if you were unable to make it to Ruth Ozeki’s talk at all, have no fear. An archived video of the author event is now available on the Go Big Read website (and embedded below!). A transcript of the video, as well as closed captioning, will be made available as soon as possible. Enjoy!


Ozeki Speaks at Union South Tonight, Wisconsin Public Radio Show Now Archived

Go Big Read welcomes Ruth Ozeki to Union South tonight, October 28th, at 7 p.m.  No tickets are required and doors open at 6 p.m.  The event will also be streamed live on the web, and you can find that link on the Go Big Read home page (http://www.gobigread.wisc.edu/). 

If you want a preview, Anne Strainchamps of the Wisconsin Public Radio show “45 North” recently interviewed Ozeki, and the engaging, half-hour interview is now archived online (http://www.wpr.org/shows/ruth-ozeki/).

Hope you can join us in person or online!

Sarah McDaniel
Go Big Read

Suggest a Question for Ruth Ozeki

Would you like to ask this year’s Go Big Read author a question about her book, her writing process, etc.?

Ruth Ozeki’s October 28th lecture at Varsity Hall, Union South, is
free and open to the public. The event will begin at 7 pm (doors open at
6 pm) and no tickets are required. We hope you’ll attend and invite
anyone you know who might be interested.

Due to the large scale of the Varsity Hall event, some of the question and answer period will be moderated. Questions should be suggested in writing by October 23rd. The moderator will select a representative set of questions and ask them to Ozeki at the event.

If you would like to suggest a question, please post it as a comment to
this blog post. Please also consider including your name and some very
brief information about yourself (e.g., your major, unit, etc.).

* Please note that blog comments are moderated so there may be a delay of
up to 24 hours between submitting your question and seeing it appear on
the blog.

Lauren Redniss at Varsity Hall

Radioactive author Lauren Redniss with Chancellor Encore David Ward and a sign language interpreter.

When Lauren Redniss took the stage on Monday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Not that my expectations were low; I just wasn’t sure how, exactly, an hour-long talk could incorporate all of the interesting things about Radioactive.  Unlike many other authors, Redniss was charged with the task of discussing not only the process of researching and writing, but also the process of creating the unique artwork and aesthetic that is as integral to the book as the narrative. Redniss explained that she wanted Radioactive to be a “complete object, with every aspect carefully considered.”  Nothing about the book, she said, is “set on a default setting.”  She even put in the work of designing her own typeface, in addition to experimenting with a new method of artistic printing, arranging the text to fit the moods and shapes of each individual page, and, of course, actually writing the whole thing.  Now she just had to tell us how she did all of it.

It’s not often that an author giving a lecture is faced with such a tall order, but Redniss carried it off with aplomb.  She began by giving a short summary of the book, and then took us back into the work’s very beginnings: her drawings for the New York Times and her first book, Century Girl.  From there, she moved into Radioactive itself, beginning with the research and writing and following it up with a discussion of the book’s visual elements: not only the cyanotype process itself, but the various sketches and inspirations that eventually found their way into the pages, as well as those that didn’t.

Redniss signs a book for a fan.

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, you’ll have seen that I live-tweeted a few of my favorite lines during the event itself (as often as I could without bugging the people around me!).  But there is one line that particularly stood out to me, which I live-tweeted in paraphrase but want to bring up here in its entirety.

There is a kind of cliche about writing, a kind of mantra that’s repeated to aspiring writers: write what you know.  I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think about that. I think it could be fine advice, as long as it’s not interpreted as, “Don’t bother writing anything new, just write about whatever you happen to know already.”  So I think maybe another way that that advice could be interpreted is, “Go out, pursue what interests you, learn about it, be absorbed in it and immersed in it, and then come back and then write about what you now know.”

This, I think, is such a refreshing and useful way to look at writing.  Certainly, as Redniss herself pointed out, a great deal of the work that went into Radioactive was learning: being no scientist herself, Redniss had a lot of reading and exploring and thinking to do as she chronicled the life of one of the world’s greatest scientists.  And I also think that this quote speaks particularly well to the University’s Year of Innovation.  That’s what we’re all here for, isn’t it?–to innovate, to go out and learn things and immerse ourselves in learning.  That was what the Curies did, and it was what Lauren Redniss did, as well.  And we should all follow in those footsteps.

Redniss signs books and meets with members of the community.

The wonderful photos above were taken by Micaela Sullivan-Fowler, one of our campus librarians.  If you would like to view her full gallery of photos from the event, click here.

If you weren’t able to make it to the talk, you can watch a video on our homepage
(the link is under “Features”).  Unfortunately, the video is not yet
captioned, but a captioned version should be available soon.  A
transcript of the event is also on its way, so please let us know if you
are interested in receiving a copy.

For those of you who did come: we hope you enjoyed it, and we’d love to hear your reactions to Redniss’s discussion!  Let us know what you thought on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below.

Brooke, Go Big Read grad student

Lauren Redniss takes the stage on Monday!

With this year’s Go Big Read author event coming up fast, now is a great time to take a look at some recent Radioactive news items that have come across my desk.

Lauren Redniss seems to have been pretty active around Madison over the past week or so (especially for someone who’s not even in town yet!): she’s spoken with the Badger Herald and 77 Square, and even the university’s news page is talking about her.  If you’re looking for a sneak preview of her Monday lecture, look no further

And, of course, I’m going to set out the details of Monday night for you right now.  If you follow us on Twitter (@GoBigRead) or have liked us on Facebook, you’re probably going to be bombarded with this info over the next few days–and it’s in the campus calendar and a few local calendars, as well.  But isn’t it nice to have it all laid out in one place?  So here you go:

Date: Monday, October 17
Time: 7pm
Place: Varsity Hall, on the second floor of Union South (1308 W. Dayton Street)
Who: Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive, the Go Big Read book selected for the 2012-2013 academic year
Why should I go?: Because it will be amazing! Radioactive is a fascinating book: a blend of art, science, biography, history and romance, with an incredibly unique and very beautiful aesthetic. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out how all those things came together?
Other things to know: The event is free and open to the public; you don’t need to get a ticket or reserve a seat.

If you can’t make it to the event in person, well, we’ll miss you!  But you don’t have to miss a minute: we’re live streaming the whole thing, starting about 15 minutes before the talk actually begins.  To get in on that, just go to our home page and look for the link that says “Live stream of the event” (it’s under “Features” on the right side of the page).

If you have any further questions about the event, feel free to email us: gobigread@library.wisc.edu.  You can also find us on Twitter or Facebook with the links above.  Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday!

Brooke, GBR graduate student