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Novelist To Deliver Next Library Lecture

Author of Orphan Train Will Appear in Scranton


Christina Baker Kline, author of the novel that laid bare the practice of sending children from East Coast orphanages to Midwestern farms where many then lived as virtual indentured labor, will be the next speaker in the Lackawanna County Library System’s Matthew F. Flynn Library Lecture Series.


She will deliver her lecture on Thursday, December 3 at 7 P.M. in the Scranton Cultural Center.


Orphan Train received rave reviews when it was published in 2013 and spent 90 weeks on the New York Times Bestselllers List.


It is the moving story of a young girl in foster care who meets an elderly woman who was taken as a child from a New York orphanage to a new life on a poor Minnesota farm aboard an “orphan train.” As the old woman tells her story, the two bond over their shared fate.


Publishers’ Weekly described the book as “a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home.”


“A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage . . . With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system,” said Library Journal.


Orphan Train was chosen to be Philadelphia’s 2015 “One Book,” a community wide reading program sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office.


In addition to Orphan Train, Kline has written four other novels. They include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines and Sweet Water. She is currently at work on a novel based on the iconic painting Christina’s World, by Andrew Wyeth.


Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Money, More, Psychology Today, among other places.


Born in Cambridge, England, Kline grew up there as well as in the American South and Maine. She is a graduate of Yale, Cambridge University, and the University of Virginia.


She has taught fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory, and women’s studies at Yale, NYU, and Drew University, and served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University for four years. She is a recipient of several Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowships and Writer-in-Residence Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


She supports a number of libraries and other associations in New Jersey, where she lives, and in Maine, where she and her husband maintain a summer home.


“We are fortunate to have Christina Baker Kline as our next speaker, not only because she is an important writer, but because she is a writer who supports libraries,” said Mary Garm, director of the Lackawanna County Library System.


Ongoing funding for the Lecture Series is provided by the Lackawanna County Office of Arts and Culture. It is part of the art, literature and performance collaboration of the Lackawanna County Library System, the Scranton Cultural Center and the Everhart Museum.


According to Mrs. Garm, tickets for the event can be obtained by showing a library card at any Lackawanna County Library System library or the Scranton Cultural Center box office. Tickets can also be reserved online.


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