'Genesee Reads' Program Featuring Author Jennifer Donnelly at Genesee Community College

Genesee Community College's "Genesee Reads" Program, planned in cooperation with the area public libraries, will feature A Northern Light, a mystery novel written by New York author Jennifer Donnelly.

Susan Chiddy, a member of Genesee's adjunct faculty, reported to the Board of Trustees Monday evening that through Genesee Reads, students, faculty, and staff members will read the novel and participate in discussion groups and classroom activities centered on the book. The author will visit Genesee March 23, meet with students, and deliver a presentation about her work.

The program gives students the opportunity to intensively study a piece of written work and meet a practicing author, Ms. Chiddy explained.

The program is part of "A Tale of Three Counties," now in its fourth year. Sponsored by area public libraries, the program focuses community attention on a book of regional significance and brings the author to the local area. This is the second year that Genesee Community College has participated in the program. This year, students are part of the planning committee, Ms. Chiddy told trustees.

Last year, the Genesee community read Julia Spencer-Fleming's In the Bleak Midwinter, a crime thriller set in the Adirondack region. Ms. Spencer-Fleming visited Genesee and met with about 200 members of the college community.

"We had a great response to the program last year, and both student and community involvement," Ms. Chiddy said. "We are looking forward to the same high level of interest this year."

Jennifer Donnelly grew up in Port Leyden, Lewis County, and now lives in Brooklyn. She was a staff writer at the Watertown Daily Times before becoming a novelist.

A Northern Light is a murder mystery revolving around sixteen-year old Mattie Gokey who burns a secret bundle of letters for Glenmore hotel guest Grace Brown, whose drowned body is later found in a nearby lake. The mystery was inspired by a murder that occurred a century ago on Big Moose Lake, on the western edge of the Adirondack region. The book has received numerous awards, including the United Kingdom's Carnegie Medal; the Los Angeles Times' book prize; and the Printz Honor by the American Library Association.