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NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome award-winning author Jana Laiz, who will discuss her book, “Weeping under This Same Moon,” at the College’s First Year Experience (FYE) Community Reading event, to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.
MCLA’s annual fall lectures are free and open to the public. Seating for this FYE Community Reading event will be limited. After the lecture, Laiz will sign copies of her book.
“Weeping under This Same Moon” explores the true story of what happens when two young women from very different cultures connect across difference. Written from the perspectives of both Mei, a Vietnamese refugee, and Hannah, an American high school student, this year’s community reading addresses themes central to MCLA’s liberal arts mission and broader democracy.
A believer in the power of individuals to make a difference, Laiz is a combination of storyteller, teacher and activist. She was a caseworker at The International Rescue Committee, working in refugee resettlement, and the co-author of “A Free Woman on God’s Earth” The True Story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom, which recently was named a New York Reads 365 Reading List Selection and has been optioned for the screen.
Laiz lives in the Berkshires, and is a Writer-In-Residence at Herman Melville’s Berkshire home, Arrowhead.
Weeping Under This Same Moon
Weeping Under This Same Moon, by Jana Laiz is based on the true story of two teenage girls from different cultures, whose paths intertwine, dramatically altering the course of their lives. Mei is an artist whose life has been disrupted by the Vietnam War. Her anguished parents send her away on a perilous escape during the exodus of thousands of Vietnamese refugees known as “Boat People.” In Mei’s words we learn of the dangers she faces caring for her two younger siblings on a sea journey fraught with hunger, thirst and deprivation, leaving behind everything she loves, to find refuge for her family.
Hannah is an angry seventeen-year-old American high school student. Friendless, neurotic, a social misfit – her passion for writing and the environment only intensify her outcast state. Through Hannah’s voice, we get inside her head, there to discover a gentle soul beneath all the anger and turmoil. When Hannah learns of the plight of the “Boat People,” she is moved to action.
Destiny brings Mei and Hannah together in a celebration of cultures and language, food and friendship, and the ultimate rescue of both young women from their own despair. Weeping Under This Same Moon is a testament to the power of love and the spirit of volunteerism; affirming that doing for others does so much for one’s self…
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.