Program: Book Discussion: The Help
Date/Time: Thursday, January 21, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Join us for a provocative discussion of the recent novel, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, at the Regulator Bookshop on Thursday, January 21, 2010, at 7 p.m. Led by Duke professors Karla Holloway and Katharine Bartlett, this discussion is free and open to the public.
On the NYT bestseller list since August, The Help, a novel about the relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, “has the classic elements of a crowd pleaser: it features several feisty women enmeshed in a page-turning plot, clear villains and a bit of history,” writes the New York Times.
The novel features three narrators. Two are black housekeepers, Aibileen and Minny, who work for white families in Jackson, Mississippi; the third is Skeeter, a young white woman who aspires to be a writer and break free of the Junior League expectations of her childhood friends (one of whom employs Aibileen) and her starchy mother. Skeeter desperately wants to impress an editor at a publishing house in New York with a book idea, and gradually persuades the maids to talk about working for white families at a time when merely telling the truth put them in great jeopardy.
Karla Holloway, who is black, raved about the novel in the New York Times, stating that Kathryn Stockett, who is white, was clearly aware of the “racial tightrope she’s walking.” But Holloway said Stockett’s identity pointed to a broader conundrum in publishing and the culture in general: “Who gets to tell the stories in a way that they earn public attention? It seems to me to reflect our bias about whom we trust as a storyteller.”
Holloway is the James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke, and holds appointments in the Law School, Women’s Studies, and African and African American Studies. Bartlett, the A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law, is the former Dean of the Duke Law School.
This event is co-sponsored with the Durham County Library.
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth Street, Durham NC 27705
An IndieBound! Bookshop