A local author is sharing her story with the New Paltz community for this year’s One Book, One New Paltz program.
Ulster County resident Laura Shaine Cunningham’s memoir, “Sleeping Arrangements,” will be the focus of on- and off-campus events from Nov. 16 to 23.
Cunningham said she felt “complete joy and amazement” at having her work selected for the community wide project. “The experience of having an entire community reading and discussing my work makes me feel at home,” she said.
In addition to attending the on-campus keynote event at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19, the author said she will attend as many events as possible.
“It is intensely personal so it seems right I should be there in person,” Cunningham said of her 1989 memoir, which recounts her childhood years, following the death of her mother, which she spent living in the Bronx under the care of her two uncles and grandmother.
Cunningham also participated in planning the event by working with the volunteer committee.
“She has been most generous with her time and enhancing the program very much through her contributions,” said Gerald Benjamin, associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO), who started One Book, One New Paltz in 2005.
Community book discussions are a highlight of the event. There are a number scheduled, including one on Wednesday, Nov. 19, with Jan Schmidt (English), who will focus on the subject of memoir writing and women’s autobiographical writing. Additionally, faculty from Humanities, Social Sciences and Education will discuss their reactions to the book at an academic panel on Friday, Nov. 21.
“People like the idea, value it and enter into it with great enthusiasm,” said Benjamin of the program.
A number of libraries have already put up One Book, One New Paltz exhibits. On campus, Sojourner Truth Library employees Colleen Lougen, Morgan Gwenwald and Joan Laudicina designed a display of Cunningham’s personal photographs for the library’s lobby gallery, which is on view through November.
Lougen said all eight copies at the campus library are currently on loan and have been checked out 34 times.
Copies of the book are also on sale at the Campus Bookstore.
Local organizations participating in this year’s event include Elting Memorial Library, the New Paltz Central School District and Unison Arts and Learning Center.
For a compete schedule of events and a link to a blog complete with readers’ feedback, visit www.onebookonenewpaltz.org.