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A. J. Hartley to Give Key Note Address for The Big Read

November 2nd, 2011 by Christy Inge in Announcements, Friends of the Library

Dr. Andrew James Hartley, Shakespearean scholar, dramaturg, director, and author will give the key note address for The Big Read Union County on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Griffin Room of the Monroe Library.  Union County is reading Ursula Le Guin’s classic fantasy, A Wizard of Earthsea.

Currently the Russell Robinson Professor of Shakespeare at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Hartley edits the “Shakespeare Bulletin”, the world’s premier scholarly journal dedicated to Renaissance drama in performance.  He is the author of The Shakespearean Dramaturg: A Theoretical and Practical Guide.  Published in 2005 by Palgrave, it was the first book written on the topic and is used extensively by theater and doctoral students.

In addition to his scholarly work, Hartley is a noted author of New York Times bestselling thrillers and fantasy fiction.  Called an “intricate and absorbing thriller” by Publishers Weekly, his debut novel, The Mask of Atreus was published in 2006.

His fantasy fiction includes the series begun with Act of Will published in 2009.  The main protagonist, Will Hawthorne, an actor in an Elizabethan style fictional world, joins a band of adventurers.  Cowardly and self-serving, Will reluctantly joins in the heroic struggle against the imperialistic empire that threatens to overpower the land.  Act of Will is in turn exciting and witty with particularly well done battle scenes.  Will Hawthorne is the perfect reluctant hero.  The second novel in the series, Will Power, was named one of the best 15 science fiction and fantasy books of 2010.

October 13, 2011 saw the release of Hartley’s first work for younger audiences.  Kirkus Reviews praised Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact as “an imaginative page turner …by turns spooky, suspenseful, and touching…”Brilliant!” as Darwen would say”.  Visit for more information in an interactive format.  For more information on Hartley visit

The Big Read is an initiative the National Endowment of the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of   American culture.  The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.  Union County is one of 76 communities nationwide participating the The Big Read form September 2011 through June 2012.  Since October 15, Union County has been reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.  The Union County Public Library is partnering with Wingate University, Union County Public Schools, Friends of Union County Public Library, and Friends of Ethel K. Smith Library in celebrating The Big Read.

For more information on Hartley’s visit, contact Shelley Fearn, Reader’s Services Librarian, at 704-283-8184 ext. 241.  You can also view a full listing of events for The Big Read in Union County by visiting the library’s website at

Copies of Hartley’s books, including Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact will be available for sale at the event by Parkroad Books of Charlotte.