She first took the world by storm as an international best-selling author. Then, she became known as a fierce champion of the corner bookstore, those nearly extinct havens for bibliophiles who cherish the opportunity to talk about and be around books. Ann Patchett will share her remarkable life and work as a New York Times bestselling author, independent bookstore owner and literary advocate on Friday, Sept. 8, as part of the University of California San Diego’s Dinner in the Library, an annual benefit to support the UC San Diego Library.
“An Evening with Ann Patchett” will take place in UC San Diego’s iconic Geisel Library building from 6-9:30 p.m. All proceeds will support the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, an initiative to transform and revitalize the interior public spaces of Geisel Library. Because of the significance of the initiative to student learning and the campus overall, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla will match gifts raised up to $1 million, doubling the impact of donations.
“Support from Dinner in the Library makes an incredible impact on our ability to sustain and grow the UC San Diego Library as a hub of discovery and learning for our campus and community,” said Chancellor Khosla. “As the intellectual heart of our university, the Library helps spark the groundbreaking work of our faculty and students, whose breakthroughs make waves across the globe.”
Patchett is the author of seven highly acclaimed novels, including Bel Canto, which received the Orange Prize and the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award, as well as Commonwealth, State of Wonder and The Magician’s Assistant. She has also written three books of nonfiction, including Truth & Beauty, What Now? and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, from the Book Sense Book of the Year to a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Not only a notable author, Patchett has channeled her love of reading and passion for literary culture into a movement to restore value in the independent bookstore. In 2011, the last independent bookstore in Nashville, Tenn., closed. Instead of mourning the loss, Patchett took action and opened her own bookstore, Parnassus Books, with publishing veteran Karen Hayes.
“When there isn’t a bookstore in your city, there is an incredible void…a bookstore isn’t just the place you come to buy books; it’s a community center,” explained Patchett in a feature video that aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. “It’s the place where you bring your kids for story hour. It’s the place where terrific authors give readings. Books give us empathy; and that’s what makes us more compassionate people.”
In 2012, TIME named Patchett one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for her efforts on behalf of the literary community. She has embraced her role as spokesperson, advocating for the corner bookstore on NPR, The Colbert Report, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, The Martha Stewart Show and The CBS Early Show, among others.
“We are delighted to have Ann Patchett speak at Dinner in the Library; she has made an incredible impact in the literary world as a celebrated author and community builder,” said Tammy Nickelson Dearie, interim University Librarian. “Support from this event enables us to enhance faculty and student productivity and discovery by transforming numerous floors of the Geisel Library into modern, technology-rich spaces.”
Ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, the UC San Diego Library provides access to more than seven million digital and print volumes, journals and multimedia materials for scholars, students and the public. Through support from events like Dinner in the Library and other philanthropy, the Library is able to develop collaborative learning and research spaces; innovative services, and the highest quality information resources across wide-ranging areas. The 14th annual Dinner in the Library is supported by a dedicated group of community members and local organizations.
Local philanthropist Jeanne Jones is serving in her second term as Chair of the Dinner in the Library Honorary Committee and is a passionate advocate for the 8th floor renovation. Honorary committee members and sponsors include: Audrey Geisel/The San Diego Foundation/Dr. Seuss Fund; Jeanne Jones and Don Breitenberg; Diane and John Berol; Ruth Covell, M.D.; Jeanne L. Herberger, Ph.D.; Julianne Larsen and James Forbes; Richard Sandstrom and Sandra Timmons; Debbie Turner; Rita L. and Richard C. Atkinson; Nancy and Joel Dimsdale; Karen Dow; Elsevier; Phyllis and Daniel J. Epstein; Standish and Theresa Fleming; The San Diego Foundation; Joye D. Blount and Jessie J. Knight Jr.; Carol and Jeffrey Chang; Estelle Dunst; EBSCO; Alison and George Gildred; Laurayne Ratner; Steelcase Education/bkm Office Works; Deborah Szekely; John and Susan Thompson; and Dixie and Ken Unruh. KPBS is the media sponsor. Underwriting by Show Imaging, Inc.
Tickets for Dinner in the Library are available for $300 per person or $2,400 per table. The event will take place from 6-9:30 p.m. at Geisel Library on Friday, Sept. 8, and will include a cocktail reception and an opportunity to learn from UC San Diego students about their research projects. Patchett will speak during dinner, which will be followed by champagne and a dessert reception. To make reservations or for more information, please visit lib.ucsd.edu/dinner or call 858-534-7021.