An award-winning biographer to discuss courage and defiance in times of crisis

August 29, 2022

An award-winning biographer to discuss courage and defiance in times of crisis

CARBONDALE, Illinois — Rebecca Donner, this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award winner for biography and one of the nation’s most respected writers, will join the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a virtual conversation on May 7 september at 10 am

Donner and John Shaw, director of the institute, will discuss via Zoom his award-winning book, “All the Troubles Frequent Today: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of Germany’s Resistance to Hitler.” They will also talk about Donner’s writing and teaching career. The conversation is part of the institute’s series, “Understanding Our New World.”

Donner, a native of Vancouver, Canada, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate degree from Columbia University. She has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College, and has written two novels and published essays in The New York Times and other publications.

“All the Troubles Frequent These Days” chronicles the extraordinary life of his great-great-aunt, Mildred Harnack, a native of Milwaukee, who pursued her doctorate in Germany just as the Nazi Party came to power. Harnack participated in a secret resistance movement to oppose the Hitler government and risked her life as a spy for the Allies during World War II. The book has been described by reviewers as a “stunning literary achievement”, an “investigative tour de force”, and a combination of “meticulous scholarship and sparkling narrative brilliance”.

“Rebecca’s writing is unforgettable,” Shaw said. “She combines rigorous scholarship with a remarkably innovative narrative technique. She created a new way of writing biography. And her tale of one woman’s bravery and defiance in Hitler’s Germany will stay with you for a very long time.

Understanding Our New World is a series of virtual conversations with government and private sector leaders, policy experts, policy analysts, authors and journalists. Participants are encouraged to submit questions to Donner on their registration form or by email to [email protected]

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