Author of ‘The Girl Who Fell from the Sky’ to Read from Her Work

by News Bureau on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 11, 2011 — New York Times Bestselling author Heidi Durrow will read from her novel, “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 1, in Glenn Auditorium of Robert A. Dempster Hall.

“The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” is the winner of the Bellwether Prize, awarded for issues of social justice and has become a national book club favorite. Her book will be available for purchase at the event, and a booksigning will follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public.

Heidi Durrow is a first-generation college graduate of Stanford, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School and has worked as a corporate litigator and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. She is the co-host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat; and co-producer of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. She is an essay contributor to National Public Radio and is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, and a Jentel Foundation Residency, among others. She was featured on CNN “Dialogues on Race,” moderated with Wolf Blitzer, which was taped on Aug. 31in Atlanta. Ebony Magazine named Heidi Durrow as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010, along with writers Edwidge Danticat, Malcolm Gladwell and Ntozake Shange. She also received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut. “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” is a timely and moving bicultural coming-of-age tale about the daughter of a Danish immigrant and a black G.I. This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. Meanwhile, a mystery unfolds, revealing the terrible truth about Rachel’s last morning on a Chicago rooftop. Interwoven are the voices of Jamie, a neighborhood boy who witnessed the events, and Laronne, a friend of Rachel’s mother. “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” reveals an unfathomable past and explores issues of identity: “Must race confine us and define us?” The Washington Post calls the book “an auspicious debut” and named it one of the Best Novels of 2010. The Miami Herald says: “Durrow’s powerful novel is poised to take a place among classics of the American experience.” The Oregonian hails it as a Top 10 Book of 2010. “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” is already in its sixth printing in the United States and England, and has been translated into Danish and Dutch.

For more information on the reading and booksigning, contact Dr. Susan Swartwout at (573) 651-2044 or sswartwout@semo.edu.