Jodi Picoult to be the guest speaker for Dinner with Friends

By Christina Yacono

Flickr/Howard County Library System
Flickr/Howard County Library System

World-renowned author Jodi Picoult will be a guest speaker at the 12th annual Dinner with Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst on March 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner with Friends is a fundraising reception that showcases the works of the guest speaker(s) and raises money to support library programs such as the Digital Media Lab and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center.

This year’s proceeds are going toward the Special Collections Archival Training Fund, which employs students to help make records digitized so the public is able to access the works.

The dinner will include hors d’oeuvre, a jazz performance by the Eric Bascom Trio, a three-course meal, a silent auction, a presentation of research awards to students and a book signing and Q&A with the guest speaker.

The silent auction has many items, including handmade cutting boards, jewelry and University Club certificates.

Past guest speakers have included authors such as Archer Mayor, Judson Hale, Sr., Jacqueline Sheehan and Roy Blount, Jr..

Caroline White, the archivist for the Kenneth Feinberg collection, is a friend of Picoult. The two met in a creative writing class in college. According to White, Picoult told her that she always wanted to do something with her papers, but it wasn’t until White got her archival job at the library that they started talking about Picoult donating them to the library. Picoult’s works also fit in the Special Collections and University archives because she is from New England and tackles many social issues in her books.

Picoult’s works include “The Pact,” “Nineteen Minutes,” “Keeping Faith,” “My Sister’s Keeper” and “The Tenth Circle.”

Picoult donated 20 boxes of her writings, which include plot notes, current events, journal articles, publicity materials, scrapbooks, correspondence and foreign language versions of her novels. Many of her papers include research on ethical, legal, procedural and other kinds of details that she spends time on to make her books as realistic as possible.

Director of Development Carol Connare feels that this year’s dinner will be record-breaking in terms of the number of people in attendance and the donations made. She estimates that 135 people will be there.

Sponsors of this year’s event includes the Boston Library Consortium, Brattle Book Shop, Eric Bascom Trio, Laura Gross Literary Agency, Lexington Group, Neudorfer, Inc., Print Associates, UMass Catering, UMass Amherst Print Services and University Store.
Tickets are being sold $150 per person and $274 for two.

Christina Yacono can be reached at [email protected]