Arts and Culture

Salon will host Naomi Benaron, author of novel on Rwanda

Naomi Benaron

The Pima County Library Foundation’s Circle of Book Clubs will present a literary salon with Naomi Benaron, Bellwether Prize-winning author of “Running the Rift,” on Sunday, Feb. 19, from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Bellwether Prize, established and funded by Barbara Kingsolver, was created to promote debut novels that address issues of social justice.

Set in Rwanda, “Running the Rift” is the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a naturally gifted athlete who dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal winner in track. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a world that has become increasingly restrictive and violent for his people. As tensions mount between the Hutu and Tutsi and he realizes there is only one way he can continue competing, he’s thrust into a world where it is impossible to stay apolitical.

Benaron has won prizes for her short fiction, which has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review,, Spillway Journal and other publications. She holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from Antioch University and a master of science degree in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is also an Ironman triathlete. She teaches at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, mentors for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, works as an advocate for African refugees and has worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda.

“Running the Rift” is “unflinching and beautifully crafted,” says Library Journal. “Readers who loved Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ will appreciate.”

Admission to the salon is $35 per person ($25 tax deductible). To reserve, send a check payable to Pima County Library Foundation, PO Box 13245, Tucson, 85732. Include an e-mail address with your check to receive directions to the salon.

For more information, call Sandy at 327-8565.