Memoirist Kathleen Finneran to read for Writing Program Reading Series Nov. 29

Washington University alumna Kathleen Finneran, author of the memoir The Tender Land: A Family Love Story (2003), will read from her work at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, for the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences.

The talk — part of The Writing Program’s fall Reading Series — is free and open to the public and takes place in Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall, on the university’s Danforth Campus. Duncker Hall is located at the northwest corner of Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives. For more information, call (314) 935-7130 or email

A love story unlike any other, The Tender Land recounts Finneran’s painful coming of age as well as her family’s tragic history. Despite a recurring strain of depressive mental illness, the Finnerans — parents and five children — are a seemingly ordinary suburban clan, yet their lives are forever altered by the suicide of Finneran’s 15-year-old brother, Sean.

“The Tender Land reminds us of how complicated, unique, and fragile an organism the family is,” notes the Boston Globe, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch praises the book as “beautifully written . . . Like life itself, this memoir evokes both sadness and joy.”

Finneran, a writer-in-residence in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences, has published essays in the anthologies The Place That Holds Our History, Seeking St Louis: Voices From a River City and The “M” Word: Writers Writing on Same-Sex Marriage. She is the recipient of a Missouri Arts Council Writers’ Biennial Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award in nonfiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Memoirist Kathleen Finneran

WHAT: Reading from her work

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29

WHERE: Hurst Lounge, Room 201 Duncker Hall

COST: Free and open to the public

SPONSOR: Washington University’s Writing Program Reading Series

INFORMATION: (314) 935-7130 or