Sept. 27, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome award-winning author Jana Laiz, who will discuss her book, “Weeping under This Same Moon,” at the College’s First Year Experience (FYE) Community Reading event, to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.


MCLA’s annual fall lectures are free and open to the public. Seating for this FYE Community Reading event will be limited. After the lecture, Laiz will sign copies of her book.


“Weeping under This Same Moon” explores the true story of what happens when two young women from very different cultures connect across difference. Written from the perspectives of both Mei, a Vietnamese refugee, and Hannah, an American high school student, this year’s community reading addresses themes central to MCLA’s liberal arts mission and broader democracy.


A believer in the power of individuals to make a difference, Laiz is a combination of storyteller, teacher and activist. She was a caseworker at The International Rescue Committee, working in refugee resettlement, and the co-author of “A Free Woman on God’s Earth” The True Story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom, which recently was named a New York Reads 365 Reading List Selection and has been optioned for the screen.


Laiz lives in the Berkshires, and is a Writer-In-Residence at Herman Melville’s Berkshire home, Arrowhead.


Upcoming fall lecturers at MCLA will include Jeffrey Toobin, senior analyst for CNN and staff writer for The New Yorker, who will be the featured presenter at the Seventh Annual Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture, which is made possible through the generosity of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust.


Toobin will present “Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.


On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Emmy Award-winner Byron Pitts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline,” will deliver MCLA’s Hardman Lecture, at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium. This lecture event, “Mass Media and Democratic Governance: The American Experience,” is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.


A book signing will follow Pitts’ lecture.


In addition, Joanna Ballantine, vice president of Trustees of Reservations for the western region, will present the Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. in Murdock Hall, in the Sammer Dennis Room (218). She will speak on "A Century of Preserving Nature and Culture for Future Generations: What’s Next?"


Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.


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