Andrew Maraniss, a New York Times-bestselling author of narrative nonfiction, will speak at The Webb School on May 7 as a part of the Follin Speaker Series. His presentation will focus on his first book “Strong Inside” — an extensively researched biography of Perry Wallace. Wallace was the first African-American varsity scholarship athlete to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference, playing for Vanderbilt University. The 2:20 p.m. presentation in the Follin Chapel is free and open to the public. For more information, call 931-389-5703.
The book was the choice for Webb’s 150th anniversary year all-school read that students will read this summer. Maraniss has also authored a young readers version appropriate for middle school students.
“The book’s themes of civil rights, the importance of education, and of course basketball should have wide appeal,” said Webb Library Director Hannah Little. “The purpose of the all-school read is to unite the circles of the Webb community, including all members of the school, Webb families, alumni, and area residents; to foster discussion across the curriculum via the shared experience founded upon reading the same book; and to encourage respect for differing points of view of our multicultural and multigenerational community through book-centered events and discussion groups.”
Maraniss will return to Webb to meet with groups after the summer to discuss themes from the book, as well as writing and research. The author will also help organize a special field trip to Vanderbilt University in the 2019-2020 school year.
“STRONG INSIDE” was the recipient of the 2015 Lillian Smith Book Award and the lone Special Recognition honor at the 2015 RFK Book Awards. The Young Reader edition was named one of the Top 10 Biographies and Top 10 Sports Books of 2017 by the American Library Association and was selected as a Notable Social Studies Book for 2019 by the National Council for the Social Studies.
Maraniss is a visiting author at Vanderbilt University Athletics and a contributor to ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com. He has appeared on several national media programs, including NPR’s All Things Considered and Only A Game, NBC’s Meet The Press, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann Show, ESPN Radio’s The Sporting Life and the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show.
The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author David Maraniss and trailblazing environmentalist Linda Maraniss, he was born in Madison, Wis., grew up in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas, and now lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife Alison, and their two young children. Follow Maraniss on Twitter @trublu24 and visit his website at andrewmaraniss.com.