Writer Andre Dubus III, author of the New York Times bestseller, "House of Sand and Fog," will visit Northern Essex Community College tomorrow, Friday, April 22 at noon for a reading and signing of his most recent book, "Townie-A Memoir."

Free and open to the public, the presentation will be held in the Library ArtSpace, which is located in the Bentley Library on the college's Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill. Books will be available for purchase and signing, and light refreshments will be served.

Townie is the story of Dubus's childhood, spent growing up poor in Haverhill. Living in a community that 40 years ago was filled with crime and violence, Dubus says he was forced to use his fists to protect himself and his family, which included his divorced mother and three siblings. Dubus writes poignantly about the life he led Monday through Saturday and how it contrasted with the Sunday visits with his father, who was a professor at the now defunct Bradford College.

The memoir was released in February to critical acclaim. Novelist Anita Shreve wrote that it is "Compelling, riveting, gritty and astonishingly moving. Dubus's memoir, Townie, achieves that rarest of qualities. It makes us love the boy who becomes the man."

Now living in Newbury with his wife and three children, Dubus began writing fiction at 22 years old, just a few months after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of a collection of short fiction, "The Cage Keeper and Other Stories," and the novels "Bluesman," "House of Sand and Fog," and "The Garden of Last Days," a New York Times bestseller.

Made into an Academy Award-nominated motion picture and published in 20 languages, "House of Sand and Fog" was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Booksense Book of the Year, and was an Oprah Book Club Selection and No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

Dubus has visited Northern Essex in the past and, in 2002, was the college's commencement speaker.

This reading and book signing is sponsored by the NECC library and the college's Institutional Advancement Office.

For more information, contact Ann Grandmaison, Northern Essex Community College Library, agrandmaison@necc.mass.edu or 978 556-3426.

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