Saturday, October 11, 2014


                                                  JODI PICOULT TO SPEAK

As supreme storytellers go, Jodi Picoult is at the top of her field, or in this case on the top of her elephant, sitting on a howdah, if she approved of such an act.  As the author of twenty-two books, many of them best sellers, read to date by 25 million people in 35 countries, Picoult is a master at weaving involving tales about topics as diverse as stem cell research ("My Sister's Keeper"), the Holocaust ("The Storyteller"), Asperger's Syndrome ("House Rules"), wolves in their native habitat ("Lone Wolf") and school shootings ("Nineteen Minutes").  Her books are noted for their plot turns and twists, her ability to voice her characters with a true pitch, the extensive research she conducts to speak with authenticity and her ability to capture human experiences so beautifully and sensitively.

Picoult will leave her New Hampshire farm where she lives with her husband and family and small menagerie of furry animals to speak on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart University, in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield, courtesy of WSHU Public Radio.

Picoult's newest novel "Leaving Time" is set in a game reserve for elephants in Botswana, telling the tale of Alice, a researcher who has devoted her life to studying memory in pachyderms.  The natural caring and compassion a mother feels for a child is echoed in this animal, mother for her calf.  When a helpless baby is orphaned, Alice feels the need to rescue it and guard its safety.

"Leaving Time" will be released October 14 so the audience at Sacred Heart will be among the first to learn how Ms. Picoult selects her topics, researches them extensively and then writes an involving story that captures readers from page one. Elephants have been said to "never forget," and that despite not having good eyesight they never forget a face.  This "recall power" is important in helping them survive, as mother elephants have been noted to retain a "store of social knowledge" when dealing with their family, their herd.  Living up to 60 years, they are said to recognize themselves in a mirror, can "imprint" memories that are essential to their survival and can actually grieve at the loss of a member of their herd or of the trainer or keeper who was good to them.

Did you know elephants use their ears as giant fans to cool themselves?  That they don't drink with their trunks but use them to feed water into their mouths or that they have the largest brains, 10.5 pounds, of any animal?  They even play a critical role in the environment.  You'll know all that and more after hearing Jodi Picoult and reading her newest book.

To get an in depth perspective on pachyderms and their intriguing bonding behavior, especially with humans, let Jodi Picoult be your animal guide.  With this loyal and social beast of the wilderness, she will weave an intriguing story of a Alice and her daughter and how an enduring love can survive a devastating tragedy.  Come to WSHU Public Radio's Join the Conversation.  The event is $30 and includes a copy of the book, and students are $10, with no book.  Join the Conversation is jointly sponsored by IKEA of New Haven, the Wyant Simboli Group and the Law Firm of Cohen and Wolf.  For reservations, call 203-371-7908 or go online to

Come hear Jodi Picoult, a master of storytelling since she penned her first book at age 5, "The Lobster Which Misunderstood."

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