campus news and events

Local Arts Forum at Colby-Sawyer College Hosts Authors James Wright and Betsy Woodman

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer College will host the Local Arts Forum in November, featuring presentations by New Hampshire authors James Wright and Betsy Woodman.

The series will begin on Thursday, Nov. 1, with historian James Wright's reading and discussion of his most recent publication, Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them. Wright, president emeritus and Eleazar Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College, will read from and discuss his work at 4 p.m. in the Archives Reading Room at the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center.

Andover resident Betsy Woodman will continue the series on Thursday, Nov. 8, presenting her newest novel, Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes, also in the Archives Reading Room at 4 p.m.

A member of Dartmouth College's faculty since 1969, Wright has served as dean of faculty, provost and president of the college. He retired as president in 2009 but continues to teach as a professor of history. In addition to teaching and writing, Wright works extensively with veterans, a relationship that stems from his own service in the U.S. Marines.

In 2005, moved by the reports of the Iraq War, Wright began meeting with wounded veterans in Washington, D.C. Drawing on his experiences in academia and the military, he began to develop educational counseling programs for the injured heroes. Inspired by these conversations, Wright wrote Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them, published this year. A chronicle of the American veteran since the Revolutionary War, the book explores the profound sacrifices made by service members and the American public's ever-changing perceptions of the military.

At age six, Betsy Woodman flew with her parents to India, where her father, Everett Woodman, had taken a job as a cultural affairs officer for the American Embassy. For the next ten years, Woodman and her family enjoyed a fascinating mélange of Eastern and Western culture, waltzing to the sound of sitars. Everett Woodman would later serve as the president of Colby Junior College, from 1962 to 1972, and is remembered for his focus on internationalizing the campus. While the family eventually returned to New Hampshire, Woodman's early childhood left a distinct impression on the rest of her life, evident in her novel, Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortune's, the first of a planned trilogy. The title character, a middle-aged Scotswoman, inherits her grandfather's home in India and becomes part of her new community which she must later rescue.

The Local Arts Forum (formerly Books Sandwiched In) is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, a community group that supports Colby-Sawyer College and its students through purchasing select books for the college's Susan Colgate Cleveland Library and supporting a range of literary events and programs at the college.

- David Hart '13

David Hart is an English major at Colby-Sawyer College and a student writer for its College Communications office.