Author Janisse Ray comes to campus February 21

February 09, 2012

Janisse_RayThe University Speaker Series continues this month as Saint Leo University welcomes the influential author, environmentalist, and farmer Janisse Ray. Her presentation, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 21, is free and open to the public. She will speak in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms of the Student Community Center.

Ray grew up in rural southern Georgia and earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. She gained wide acclaim as an environmental writer with the 1999 publication of a memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Since then, Janisse Ray has advocated for sustainability as an activist, an organizer, and as a writer and teacher. Her works include fiction and poetry, as well as literary nonfiction. In a passage from her book Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land, she describes a turning point in her life. “Life was good in my little hand-built cabin at the edge of a remnant Appalachian ravine, where in the pasture I grew persimmons and pears and tended a sprawling garden, and where I could live off the grid, free of consumer guilt. If I wanted to make a difference, however, if I wanted to inspire and educate others to honor wildness, I would have to venture forth into the world.”

More recently, Ray produced Drifting into Darien: A Personal and Natural History of the Altamaha River. Also set in southern Georgia, the book centers on an ecologically sensitive waterway that is 140 miles long. Drifting into Darien is now in print from the University of Georgia Press. Later this year Chelsea Green Publishing will release her newest work, The Seed Underground: An Outlandish Revolution to Save Food.

The author’s appearance with the University Speaker Series coincides with a brief visit to Saint Leo through the Council of Independent Colleges Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program.

For more information, contact Allyson Marino, director of fine arts events, at (352) 588-8662 or