Southbury author Kevin Jennings will conduct a book talk on his memoir Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 7pm in the Kingsley Room of the Southbury Public Library. His talk will be followed by a book signing. Books will be available for purchase from the Hickory Stick Bookshop. Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son addresses themes of family, religion, sexuality, and education, and more. Accordingly, Kevin’s author talk also serves as a celebration of June as LGBT Pride Month and the American Library Association’s GLBT Book Month.
Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son serves as both a riveting personal story and an inside account of a critical chapter in the LGBT movement. Growing up poor in the South, Kevin Jennings learned a lot of things, especially about how to be a real man. When his father, a fundamentalist preacher, dropped dead at Kevin’s eighth birthday party, Kevin already knew he wasn't supposed to cry. He also knew there was no salvation for homosexuals, who weren't "real men"—or Christians, for that matter. Jennings found his salvation in school, inspired by his mother. He ultimately earned a scholarship to Harvard and there learned about history and literature and that it was possible to live openly as a gay man. When Jennings discovered his vocation as a teacher and returned to high school to teach, he was forced back into the closet. In seeing teachers and students struggling with their sexual orientation and desperately trying to hide their identity, Jennings was inspired to come out and ultimately work towards making schools safer for all students. After covering Jennings’ childhood through teaching career, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son addresses Jennings’ role in helping students create the first GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in the country and his founding of GLSEN- the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network). Kevin Jennings' poignant, razor-sharp memoir closes with a touching homage to his hard working, self-educated mother.
In addition to founding GLSEN and helping students create the first GSA, Kevin Jennings also served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe & Drug-Free Schools under the Obama administration. After that, he served as the Executive Director for the national nonprofit Be The Change. Since 2012, he became Executive director of the Arcus Foundation, a leading international funder of conservation and human rights work where he continues his work today. He is the author/editor of seven books, including the 1997 Lambda Literary Award-winner Telling Tales of Out School.
Light refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Southbury Public Library. Registration is required. Please call 203-262-0626 ext. 130 to register.
Contact: Elizabeth Kelly
Southbury Public Library Reference Department
203-262-0626 ext. 130