‘Inheritance’ author to visit Steamboat as finale for One Book
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — New York Times bestselling author Dani Shapiro will arrive in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday, March 11, for a talk on her recent memoir “Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love,” which was this year’s One Book Steamboat community read.
Bud Werner Memorial Library presents One Book Steamboat each year, choosing a book that the community can read together.
“We choose a book that has pertinent themes and will spark discussion across generations,” said Jennie Lay, adult programs coordinator at the library. “’Inheritance’ has themes that can speak to the heart and spurs discussions of things that people are both curious and concerned about.”
The book tells the story of the spring day in 2016 when Shapiro received results from a DNA test that changed her life forever. She discovered her father was not her biological father. The memoir, Shapiro’s fifth, is about family secrets, identity and origin with themes of science, technology and privacy woven throughout.
“The genealogy club in Steamboat is booming right now,” Lay said, “and there is an explosion of DNA testing and privacy issues — that’s all in the book. Things that people are thinking about on a personal and societal level are in there, expressed in different ways.”
Prior to writing “Inheritance,” Shapiro didn’t shy away from identity and family history — she had explored such themes in her previous memoirs. But after receiving the shocking news about her father, her story was changed.
“From the time I made my entirely accidental discovery about my father, on some level, I knew I’d have to write — or rewrite, if you will — my own history and my family’s history,” Shapiro said. “Writing has always been a tool of illumination for me. It’s how I come to know myself and the world around me. This was a massive new piece of information, on the deepest level of identity. I began writing, researching, reporting, gathering information almost immediately.”
Shapiro focused on questions, like what makes a father a father? What makes a family a family? How do we weigh the importance of nature versus nurture? How are our identities formed, and how are we affected by secrets that are kept from us?
What: One Book Author Event — Dani Shapiro
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11
Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.
“For the first time in my writing life, I found myself consciously thinking about what was universal about the story I was telling,” Shapiro said. “I realized my journey, shocking and painful as it was in the beginning, was also an extraordinary creative, emotional, philosophical, intellectual and spiritual odyssey. And a profound opportunity to delve deeply into the human condition.”
Over the past few weeks, in order to promote the community read on a deeper level, the library hosted events, such as discussions, documentary viewings and genealogy lectures. This year’s One Book Steamboat will culminate in a visit from Shapiro where she will discuss her book and answer questions from the audience.
“There’s nothing more thrilling for a writer than when a whole town reads one’s book,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be chosen for a community reads program. And it makes for great conversation. I’m really looking forward to my visit.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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