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Friends of St. Vincent speaker series opens with Georgia author

Special to The Star

Georgia writer Janisse Ray will open the winter speakers’ season for the Friends of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge 7 p.m. ET Jan. 16 at the Dixie Theater in Apalachicola.

Ray’s first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, rocketed her onto the American literary scene in 1999. Ecology, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the disappearing longleaf pine ecosystem, looks hard at family, mental illness, poverty, and fundamentalist religion. Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” The New York Times said of Ray, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.”

Ray’s second book, Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, published in early 2003. Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land, the story of a 750,000-acre wildland corridor between south Georgia and north Florida, appeared in 2005. Drifting into Darien, a personal and natural history of the Altamaha River, came out in 2011. Her latest, on open-pollinated seeds and the global food supply, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food (Chelsea Green), published in 2012 to wide acclaim. Ray has published a collection of poetry and edited many other books.

Janisse has been writer-in-residence at Hollins College, the University of Montana, the University of Mississippi, among others. She has taught and lectured widely. Janisse lives on an organic farm with the artist Raven Waters and their teenage daughter.

No charge for this event, but donations to the Friends welcome. Books will be available for sale, and Janisse will sign them after her lecture.

The Supporters of St. Vincent Island NWR offer tours and other educational activities, and are devoted to increasing understanding of the history and natural environment of the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, go to www.stvincentfriends.com