“Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” author to visit campus

Posted: Monday, 26 October 2009

TROY—Janisse Ray, author of the “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” the subject of Troy University’s Common Reading Initiative, will visit classes and conduct a public lecture on Nov. 5.

The public event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theater, will be immediately followed by a reception and book signing event, said Dean Eleanor Lee, dean of the First Year Studies at TROY.

The Common Reading Initiative focuses all entering freshmen on one particular book, and then applies group discussions, classroom activities and lectures to that reading on a University-wide basis. By next fall, that initiative will expand to TROY’s five colleges, with college-specific readings.

“What we want to see as a result of this intense focus on reading is a notable change in the learning environment as well as improvement in student learning outcomes,” Dean Lee said.

“Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” is the first non-fiction book chosen for TROY’s reading initiative, and recounts Ray’s experiences of growing up in a junkyard off U.S. Highway 1. The book interweaves family history and memoir with natural history writing, in particular descriptions of the ecology of the vanishing longleaf pine forests that once covered the South. The book won the American Book Award, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, and the Southern Environmental Law Center Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern environment.

In addition to the public events, Ray will also meet with the University Orientation Class, an English composition class and other student groups while on campus.