Andrew Maraniss, a New York Times-bestselling author of narrative nonfiction, will begin a relationship with The Webb School community on May 7 as a part of the Follin Speaker Series. It will continue during the summer and be capped by two visits during the 2019-2020 school year marking the school's 150th anniversary.
His first book "Strong Inside" is the choice for the 150th school year all-school read. Maraniss has authored not only the extensively researched biography of Perry Wallace but also a young readers version appropriate for Webb's middle school students.
"The book's themes of civil rights, the importance of education, and of course basketball should have wide appeal," said Webb Library Director Hannah Little. "The purpose of the all-school read is to unite the circles of the Webb community, including all members of the school, Webb families, alumni, and City of Bell Buckle residents; to foster discussion across the curriculum via the shared experience founded upon reading the same book; and to encourage respect for differing points of view of our multi-cultural and multi-generational community through book-centered events and discussion groups."
The Follin Speaker Series presentation May 7 at 2:20 p.m. in the Follin Chapel will focus on the book that students will read this summer, and he will be available for signing and questions. The event is free and open to the public. Maraniss will return to Webb to meet with groups after the summer to discuss themes from the book, as well as writing and research. The author will also help organize a special field trip for certain groups to Vanderbilt University in 2019-2020 school year.
"STRONG INSIDE" was the recipient of the 2015 Lillian Smith Book Award and the lone Special Recognition honor at the 2015 RFK Book Awards. The Young Reader edition was named one of the Top 10 Biographies and Top 10 Sports Books of 2017 by the American Library Association and was selected as a Notable Social Studies Book for 2019 by the National Council for the Social Studies.
He is a visiting author at Vanderbilt University Athletics and a contributor to ESPN's TheUndefeated.com. He has appeared on several national media programs, including NPR's All Things Considered and Only A Game, NBC's Meet The Press, MSNBC's Morning Joe, ESPN's Keith Olbermann Show, ESPN Radio's The Sporting Life and the SEC Network's Paul Finebaum Show.
The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author David Maraniss and trailblazing environmentalist Linda Maraniss, he was born in Madison, Wis., grew up in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas, and now lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife Alison, and their two young children. Follow Andrew on Twitter @trublu24 and visit his website at andrewmaraniss.com.
Photo: Library Director Hannah Little and Andrew Maraniss