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Fri, March 22

Literary Southwest presents Susan Orlean

The words on the page will once again come alive as Literary Southwest presents another author for a reading and conversation. On Friday, Feb. 27, Susan Orlean will read from her book, "The Orchid Thief," followed by an audience question-and-answer session and a book signing.

Jim Natal, series director for Literary Southwest, said the program has had a track record at bringing high-level authors throughout the seven years the series has been going. Natal said he and Orlean had a mutual acquaintance and he just had to ask to get her to come. Natal said that Orlean's work "is incredibly researched and brings in so many factors about one thing. Her articles and books are never just about one thing."

Natal brought up Orlean's most recent book, "Rin Tin Tin," which explores the life and legacy of the canine star, as an example. He said she goes from the aforementioned dog to speaking about how America's love affair with dogs as pets started in the late 1800s and even writes about World War I.

But apart from "Rin Tin Tin" and her national bestseller, "The Orchid Thief," Orlean has written as a staff writer for the "New Yorker," for national publications such as "Esquire" and "The Boston Globe" and has served as an editor for "Best American Essays" and "Best American Travel Writing."

Natal said that Prescott is very fortunate to have someone of Orlean's stature come to share her work. "She is one of the finest non-fiction writers I've read," he said.

But there was also a film version of "The Orchid Thief" called "Adaptation." And Literary Southwest will partner with the Prescott Film Festival for a free screening on Saturday, Feb. 28, which Natal said is the first time Literary Southwest has hosted a companion screening. He said there have been some changes from page to screen.

"It's definitely based on 'The Orchid Thief,'" Natal said. "Meryl Streep stars as Susan Orlean and that's about where the similarities end."

However, Natal called it one of the finest contemporary screenplays ever written and added that it is the first time Literary Southwest has hosted a companion screening event.

Orlean's reading and conversation and the film screening are both free at Yavapai College Library's Susan N. Webb Community Room, 1100 E. Sheldon St. in Building 19, Room 147.

The reading is at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, and the screening is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28.

For more information, visit or call Natal through Yavapai College at 928-776-2035.

Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels


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