Barry to read from new book in third visit to SJU

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August 28, 2019

Dan Barry

Dan Barry

New York Times columnist and author Dan Barry is no stranger to April snowstorms in Minnesota. Such a storm kept him from his scheduled visit at Saint John’s University last spring.

With Barry’s visit now scheduled for September, let’s hope the snow stays far away.

Barry will make his third appearance at Saint John’s Pottery Studio from 4:30-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, to discuss his latest book, “This Land: America, Lost and Found.”

The presentation is free and open to the public.

This Land: America, Lost and Found book coverThe book is a collection of nearly 100 essays from Barry’s “This Land” columns that appeared in TheNew York Times over the past decade. These columns come from visits to all 50 states and explore uniquely American moments, such as a gathering of retired burlesque queens in Baraboo, Wisconsin; the economic struggles of a dairy farmer in Ferndale, California; and the larger meaning of a knocked-down telephone booth in Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

The book depicts an America “not the one populated by the pundits and politicians of cable news, but the America defined and redefined by those who clean hotel rooms, tend the beet fields, and endure through floods, tornadoes and oil spills,” Barry wrote.

Barry first visited the Pottery Studio in October 2012 to discuss his book “The Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball’s Longest Game.” The book is about the longest game played in baseball history, when the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played a 33-inning minor league game that began on April 18, 1981. After eight hours and 32 innings, the game was suspended and resumed two months later.

His second visit to the Pottery Studio came in September 2016 to talk about his book, “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.” That book told the story about the exploitation of a group of Texas men with intellectual disabilities who lived in near servitude for more than 30 years in Atalissa, Iowa.

Barry’s current visit continues a tradition of sponsoring an annual Irish-themed event in honor of the late Sister Colman O’Connell, OSB. O’Connell served as a teacher, administrator and president (1986-96) at the College of Saint Benedict.

Since joining The Times in September 1995, Barry has been a reporter and columnist, covering many major events, including the World Trade Center disaster, the destructive wake of Hurricane Katrina and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting death of a young black man.

His many honors include the 2003 American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for deadline reporting, for his coverage of the first anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; the 2005 Mike Berger Award, from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; and the 2015 Best American Newspaper Narrative Award. He has also been nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice: once in 2006 for his slice-of-life reports from hurricane-battered New Orleans, and again in 2010 for his coverage of the Great Recession and its effects on the lives and relationships of America.

He previously worked at The Providence Journal newspaper. As a member of the Journal’s investigative team, he shared a George Polk Award in 1992 for a series on the causes of a state banking crisis, and a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for an investigation into Rhode Island’s court system that led to various reforms and the criminal indictment of the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court.

Barry is also the author of “City Lights,” a collection of his “About New York” columns, published in 2007; and “Pull Me Up: A Memoir,” published in 2004.

The event is sponsored by the University Chair in Critical Thinking and the Saint John’s Pottery studio.