Sunday, October 7, 2018

Columnist Jan Risher to discuss her new short story collection Oct. 9 at the Bayou State Book Talks

Lafayette's Jan Risher, an award-winning journalist, columnist and former managing editor of the Times of Acadiana, will discuss her new book, "Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short," at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, at the Main Library in downtown Lafayette. The talk is part of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Bayou State Book Talks and is free and open to the public.

Though Risher left full-time journalism in 2008, she has been writing a weekly column in Lafayette since March 2002 and, to date, has written more than 850 Sunday columns. Before her foray into Acadiana, she wrote columns for The Scott County Times, her hometown newspaper in Forest, Miss., in 1993 while teaching English in Slovakia. In 1999, as a young mother in El Paso, she began writing the column for the El Paso Times.

Risher worked with a team of editors to select favorite columns originally published in The Daily Advertiser between 2002 and 2017. The columns selected include big events like a trip to China to adopt a daughter, covering Katrina/Rita as a journalist, the 2016 South Louisiana flood and other events such as Christmas socks and her great-grandmother’s tea cake recipe. 

The book is published by San Souci Press, an imprint of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press.

“I was a blogger before it was a thing,” Risher said in the book’s press release. “I’m not sure why, but I always wanted to write a newspaper column. Maybe it was because I come from a family of storytellers. Getting a word in edged-wise was a challenge, but, never fear, I managed. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity all these years to consider stories and share my life, observations and experiences with readers.”

Sid Salter, chief communications officer and director of the Office of Public Affairs at Mississippi State University — and former editor of Risher’s hometown paper — penned the foreword for the book. “At heart, Jan Risher is a compassionate storyteller,” he said. “She shares deeply from her own heart and from the grand storehouse of her family. She writes honestly about family, home, love, mothers, and work – and about parenting, marriage, friendship, death, and all of life’s intangibles.”

“This book is a delight to read,” said ULL’s Michael S. Martin, the Cheryl Courrege Burguieres Professor in History and Managing Editor of Louisiana History. “Risher's storytelling ability shines in her tales of tragedy, triumph, and all points in between. She reminds her readers that, although we might not have the same backgrounds or current situations, we all confront circumstances that point to our fundamental interconnectedness as human beings.”

“Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers” is priced at $20 and available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

In addition to her appearance at Bayou State Book Talks, Risher will be signing copies at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, at Barnes and Noble, 5705 Johnston St. in Lafayette.

Bayou State Book Talks is a monthly discussion series led by authors from Louisiana who have written books that are of interest to Louisianians. The series is co-sponsored by the Center for Louisiana Studies, UL Lafayette and the Lafayette Public Library System.

Louisiana Book News is written by award-winning author Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances and mysteries under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her first book in each series is FREE to download as an ebook, including "Emilie," book one of The Cajun Series, "Ticket to Paradise," book one of The Cajun Embassy series and "A Ghost of a Chance," the first Viola Valentine mystery.

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