Laura Moriarty, author of “The Chaperone” visited Pitt State. An event was held in the Student Center on Thursday Feb. 27th at 8:00 pm. Moriarty read from “The Chaperone” and talked about the Kansas history in her book and her writing process.
“We bring four or five nationally recognized writers here…and we always make opportunities for the writers to get to class, so students can meet them, they give a talk or a reading, and then afterwards, a reception where students can also get a chance to talk to the writer,” Professor of English and director of the Visiting Writer Series, Laura Washburn said.
Moriarty came to Pitt State as part of the Visiting Writer Series.
“We have a lot of students who are aspiring writers and authors, so it’s very important for them to see living, breathing people who are doing the thing that they also want to do or are already doing,” Washburn said. “They get to hear them talk about how they create novels or short stories or poetry, but also they get to hear it, which really is a different experience from reading it on the page, and it’s entertaining.”
Moriarty read an expert from “The Chaperone,” and talked about the characters and the background of the story.
“It’s so wonderful to get out and talk to people about it whether they read it or not, and you can have a sense of immediacy with it, people are reacting to things that you wrote,” Moriarty said. “Just then I read a section that I wrote and you got to hear the response to it, where usually, it’s a penny at the well, and you don’t ever get to hear it drop.”
“The Chaperone” is a historical fiction based off the life of Louise Brooks and her chaperone, and in 2019, the book was adapted into a movie.
“I think it gives us a reminder and a way to think critically about the time we’re in now, and so you can maybe step back and think a little bit critically for yourself,” Moriarty said. “It also just reminds me of how much people have survived, and everything we’re going through, everything everyone is going through, no matter how personal and specific, someone else has gone through it… and there’s that sort of commonality of the human experience.”
During the event Moriarty talked about the Kansas history she used in her novel.
“I didn’t know much about the orphan train, I think that was really cool, it kind of hurt my heart a little bit, but… all her stories were very historically accurate, I really appreciate it because I really like history,” freshman education major Morgan Cravens said.
Next the visiting writer’s series will bring poet Ilya Kaminsky to Pitt State.
“We’re very excited to bring Ilya Kaminsky in April, he’s a great performer with an almost operatic style of reading poetry,” Washburn said. “No one will have seen anyone like it.”