KooKooLand is this year’s ‘One Book One Manchester’ community-wide reading pick

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MANCHESTER, NH – The City of Manchester, New Hampshire will once again be participating in a community-wide reading program.  The book selection for the 2019 One Book One Manchester read is ‘KooKooLand’ by Gloria Norris.

“I’m excited this year’s selection for One Book One Manchester is by Queen City native, Gloria Norris,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “The ability to have residents from across Manchester come together and read the same story is incredibly powerful and will not only strengthen our literary community but highlight a story of resilience, based in our community.”

The community-wide read includes several book discussion groups and programs related to the book’s themes of adverse childhood experiences, mental illness, substance abuse, and incarceration, as well as hope and resilience, which Norris discovered through the power of education. Students in the Building Literary Community class at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College have created a discussion guide, and are available to lead book discussions. To reserve a time with them, send an e-mail to obom@nec.edu. For a full list of events and where to find a copy of the book, please visit our Facebook page @1BOOK1MHT or sign up for updates at our website at https://www.1book1mht.com/.

Author Gloria Norris

Ms. Norris, a Manchester native, screenwriter and film producer, will appear on November 14 at 6 p.m. at Manchester Community College, 1066 Front St., Manchester, to discuss and sign copies of her memoir. As part of her visit, Ms. Norris will meet with students at her alma mater, Central High School, where she will also be conducting a master class in writing. Local colleges have also arranged time with her to speak with various classes in media, film, and communication. On November 13, at 3 p.m., Gloria Norris will return to Elmwood Gardens, the Manchester neighborhood where she grew up, to speak with the current residents.

Last year’s One Book One Manchester featured internationally renowned writer Mohsin Hamid, whose visit to the city helped to launch the program, which is gaining further visibility with the appearance of Ms. Norris.

A consortium of Manchester cultural and educational institutions, along with local businesses and non-profits, have banded together to make One Book One Manchester 2019 possible. These organizations include:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Dismas Home of New Hampshire, Inc.
  • New England College, including the Institute of Art and Design
  • Manchester City Library
  • Manchester Community College
  • Manchester School District
  • Saint Anselm College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • The Bookery Manchester
  • University of New Hampshire at Manchester
  • YWCA NH

We are proud to be supported by the following sponsors:

Gold Level: Digital Federal Credit Union, The Humanities Division and the Institute of Art and Design at New England College
Silver Level: Heather Staples Lavoie
Bronze Level: The English Department at Manchester Community College, Manchester City Library Foundation, Manchester Community College


ABOUT KooKooLand

KooKooLand was listed as one of National Public Radio’s Great Reads of 2016.

“Gloria Norris’s KooKooLand is a memoir written on the edge of a knife blade. Chilling, intensely moving, and darkly funny, it cuts to the heart and soul of a troubled American family, and announces the arrival of a startlingly original voice.” – Simon & Schuster

“Heartbreaking and darkly humorous… an intelligent and bracing memoir” -Kirkus Reviews

“Manchester, get ready for your close-up. It arrives in a gritty new memoir by Gloria Norris, a California screenwriter and film producer who grew up in Elmwood Garden, in Manchester’s South End – “the projects,” or, as her sister put it, “poor people housing.” – Jennifer Graham, The Hippo Press

“Although many vibrant characters populate this chilling memoir, Norris’ recreation of her early 1960s nine-year-old self is spot on treat and a terror.  A tumble through tumultuous time, in which the heroine inexplicably, beautifully lands on her feet.” -Booklist

“Dad’s a petty criminal whose insults land like punches to the psyche. Mom’s an enabler who endures her husband’s shenanigans with the help of highballs. Yet their daughter Gloria-blessed with Huck Finn’s rough-hewn decency and Scout Finch’s sassy aplomb-survives, triumphs, and, in KooKooLand, bears witness to an amazing if challenging childhood. Norris’s memoir made me laugh, made me cringe, broke my heart, and reaffirmed my optimism. I loved this book!”  -Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone.