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Susan Orlean Reads at Seton Hall

Susan Orlean at Seton Hall University on April 6 Credits: Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University's final Poetry-in-the-Round event of Spring 2017 will present the acclaimed, bestselling writer, Susan Orlean, on Thursday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Chancellor's Suite of the University Center.

This reading is free and open to the public.

About the Event:
The New Yorker recent wrote of Susan Orlean's work: "Orlean's writing has taken her as far afield as Bhutan, but more often she has found inspiration among the kind of people who might live in your town. In the process, she has composed a unique American album of dreamers and schemers, rogues and heroes, portrayed with insight, compassion, and an inimitably sly humor." One of the most acclaimed non-fiction writers at work today, Susan Orlean will read from her work. There will be books for sale, and time for a book signing.

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About the Author:
The New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean has been called "a national treasure" by The Washington Post. Her deeply moving—and deeply humorous—explorations of American stories, both familiar and obscure, have earned her a reputation as one of America's most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue.

Orlean is fascinated by tales of every stripe – her profiles and interviews forThe New Yorker have covered such wide-ranging subjects as Jean Paul Gaultier's design inspiration, urban chicken farming, the friends and neighbors of Tonya Harding, the contemporary painter responsible for capturing "the art in the Wonder Bread," and the World Taxidermy Championships. From the every day to the outlandish, she has an eye for the moving, the hilarious, and the surprising.

Orlean's most recent book, Rin Tin Tin, explores the life and legacy of the iconic German shepherd. When she learned that the dog she grew up watching on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin was real, Orlean became fascinated with his extraordinary story. Rescued from a World War I battlefield in 1918 by an American soldier and brought to the States, Rin Tin Tin went on to appear in 27 Hollywood films and was even nominated for the first Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929. Praised by author Rebecca Skloot for weaving together "history, war, show business, wit and grace," Orlean's portrait of the beloved dog tells an "incredible story about America." On NPR's Weekend Edition, Scott Simon reflected, "Susan Orlean has written a book about how an orphaned dog became part of millions of households, and hearts, in a way that may reveal the changing bonds between humans and animals, too." In Rin Tin Tin, Orlean examines how the he captured the world's imagination and, nearly a century later, remains a fixture in American culture.

In The Orchid Thief—the national bestseller that inspired the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation—Orlean delves into the life of John Laroche, a charismatic schemer once convicted of trying to steal endangered orchids from a state preserve in southern Florida. A horticultural consultant obsessed with rare orchids, Laroche is the unforgettable, strangely appealing heart of The Orchid Thief. Orlean spent two years doing research for the book, going so far as to wade through a swamp in hopes of spotting the elusive ghost orchid. The result is a story that The Wall Street Journal called "a swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great," citing "visionary passions and fierce obsessions; heroic settings; outsize characters [and] entrepreneurs on the edge of the frontier."

In a career spanning more than three decades, Orlean has also written for Outside, Esquire, The Boston Globe, and more. She is the author of several other books including Saturday Night, a portrait of the varying experience of Saturday night in dozens of communities across the United States, of which Entertainment Weeklyconcluded, "I can't think of a better way to spend Saturday night than staying home and reading this book." She has served as an editor for Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing, and her journalism has been compiled into two collections: The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People and My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere. Orlean's work has inspired two successful films: Blue Crush, the story of young women surfing in Maui, and Adaptation, the metafilm directed by Spike Jonze. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Orlean in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award, as were costars Nicholas Cage and Chris Cooper and writer Charlie Kaufman.

Orlean lives in Los Angeles and upstate New York, where she is a parent, dog owner, gardener, and occasional teacher.

About the Series:
Poetry-in-the-Round has brought some of the best contemporary writers from around the world to Seton Hall University for the past three decades. Some of those visitors have included Joyce Carol Oates, E.L. Doctorow, Nadine Gordimer, C.K. Williams, Jonathan Franzen, John Ashbery, Russell Banks, Adrienne Rich, and many others. The series has worked to bring established and up-and-coming new writers to the attention of Seton Hall students and the community. Nathan Oates, Ph.D., associate professor of English, is the director of the Series. For more information please contact him at: or (973) 761-9388.

Seton Hall University is located at 400 South Orange Ave., South Orange, NJ 07079.

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