James Patterson to discuss his latest book, value of reading at Vanderbilt April 11

James Patterson (photo by Stephanie Diani)
James Patterson (photo by Stephanie Diani)

Bestselling author James Patterson will discuss his prolific writing career, support for literacy initiatives and the power of books and reading in a wide-ranging conversation at Vanderbilt University on Thursday, April 11.   

“An Evening with James Patterson” will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Langford Auditorium. Former NBC News anchor and correspondent John M. Seigenthaler will serve as moderator. The event is open to the public, but registration is required to attend. 

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, Dialogue Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy are co-sponsors of the event in collaboration with Parnassus Books. 

Registration is required, and space is limited. Registration includes the purchase of Patterson’s upcoming book, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: True Stories of the Magic of Reading, written with Matt Eversmann.

A limited number of free copies of the book are available on a first-come, first-served basis by using the promo code “Commodore” when you register:

  1. Apply the promo code: Commodore
  2. Add (+) the free ticket
  3. Subtract (-) the general admission ticket
  4. Check out

Register here. >> 

Patterson, who earned his master’s in English at Vanderbilt in 1970, has long been an ardent and vocal champion of the importance of reading. “In America we urge everyone over the age of 18 to vote, but only 15 percent of voters read books,” he said. “Only 15 percent of us perform the life-affirming, sanity-bolstering, empathy-forming act of spending time inside somebody else’s brain.”  

"The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians" book cover (image courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.)
(image courtesy of Little,
Brown and Co.)

Patterson credits the thousands of booksellers and librarians, whom he calls an “elite corps of frontline workers,” for their dedicated efforts to keep reading alive. “Day after day after day, they find the right book for the right person, and in so doing they help save people’s—and our collective—lives. And maybe our sanity,” he said.  

Patterson has donated more than 1 million books to students, focusing on some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country. To date, he has donated $7.25 million to school and classroom libraries throughout the United States and $2.1 million to independent bookstores and employees. 

One of the most successful storytellers of our time, Patterson is the creator of such indelible characters and series as Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Jane Smith and Maximum Ride, and biographies of notable figures including the Kennedys, John Lennon and Tiger Woods as well as military heroes, police officers and ER nurses. He has co-authored No. 1 bestselling novels with former President Bill Clinton and megastar entertainer Dolly Parton and told the story of his own life in James Patterson by James Patterson. He is the recipient of an Edgar Award, 10 Emmy awards, the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and the National Humanities Medal.  

Seigenthaler is managing partner of FINN Partners in Nashville. During his 11 years at NBC News, he anchored NBC Nightly News’ weekend edition and appeared on Meet the Press, Dateline, TODAY, Weekend TODAY, MSNBC, CNBC and the Discovery Channel. He also was an anchor and reporter for local television news at KOMO in Seattle and WKRN and WSMV in Nashville. Seigenthaler is a member of the Newseum Board of Trustees, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors, and the judging committee for the RFK Journalism Awards. He also serves on the board of trustees for the not-for-profit organization You Have the Power, whose mission is to empower those victimized by crime. 

Parking for the April 11 event will be available in the 25th Avenue Garage at 2401 Highland Ave. Please access the garage using the Highland Avenue entrance. 

This event is part of the university’s Dialogue Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy initiatives, which work to provide a range of programs to students, faculty and the public that promote civil discourse and better understanding while addressing political polarization in society.  

Vanderbilt’s Heard Libraries is a preeminent academic research library system that acquires, preserves and makes accessible the world’s information. Heard Libraries strives to engender a community of collaboration, adaptability and innovation to address the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world. 

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