Jodi Picoult: World-Renown, With Upper Valley Roots

Author Jodi Picoult

Best-selling author Jodi Picoult's new book, Small Great Things, is scheduled for official release on October 11, 2016. It is her 24th novel. Contemporary themes permeate her fiction and this book is no different as it takes on the hot-button issue of race. It begins with the story of Ruth Jefferson, an African-American labor and delivery nurse who is forbidden by white supremacist parents to care for their newborn child. An emergency occurs. Litigation, and a media sensation, follow. A preview of the book states; "With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, and compassion--and doesn't offer easy answers."

Picoult's books frequently rocket to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list. Her reach is international, with 14 million copies of her books in print and translated into more than 30 languages. She has received honorary doctorates and numerous literary honors, including the New England Bookseller Award for fiction. Her fans appreciate the tenacity she brings to her writing life; she has produced a book just about every year since her first, Songs of the Humpback Whale, in 1992. She takes to the road often, greeting her readers on book tours that take her around the world.

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Her roots in the Upper Valley, however, run deep. She and her family have lived in Hanover, NH for 25 years. Those around-the-world book tours? They always begin at home. On October 10, one day before the official publication date and with special permission from the publisher, Picoult will launch the tour for Small Great Things right here in the Upper Valley.  She says, "I love supporting my local bookstores, and getting to see my local readers." The Norwich Bookstore--always charming but not quite large enough to accommodate the anticipated crowd--will host Picoult's reading just outside of the village at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley on Route 5 South in Norwich, VT.

Perhaps less well known than her books is Picoult's work in establishing and running the Trumbull Hall Troupe. In 2004, she and Marjorie Rose founded this local theater group for young people. Picoult explains that the rationale was, and continues to be, two-fold. "We love giving kids a supportive theatrical experience while also making them realize they can positively benefit the lives of others." With composer Ellen Wilber, Picoult has written original musicals each year and then staged them with local school children. Over the past decade, the Trumbull Hall Troupe has raised over $120,000 for local charities, including the Upper Valley Haven and Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. This year will be a slight departure from original shows; the Troupe will be performing Legally Blonde: The Musical, at the Lebanon Opera House on November 4, 5, and 6.

The Trumbull Hall Troupe performing When in Rome (2015)

To check availability of tickets for the Small Great Things pre-publication launch, drop by the Norwich Bookstore or call them at 802-649-1114. For more information about the Trumbull Hall Troupe and its upcoming production of Legally Blonde, check its website.

(Featured photo by Bob O'Connor, Wall Street Journal, used with permission of the author.)

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