Monday, October 15, 2012

Liz’s Lair: Taking a Stab at Illiteracy

Yesterday, I was one of twenty-five author hosts who participated in the Buns and Roses Tea for Literacy. This was my second year to do this, and I was thoroughly impressed once again with all the work that goes into the planning.

It started off with a Q & A session at the Plano B & N, followed by a booksigning with about twenty of the authors. Then we were hosted by Chris Simmie with  a meet and greet party, where this year, they allowed readers to participate. The menu? What else but Texas Barbeque.

The tea was actually held on Sunday, and the place was packed. Here’s how it worked. The tickets were $35 each, but if you wanted to go with a group of nine friends, you picked an author and bought the table for $350. Because I was one of the few mystery authors among many romance ones, my table sold early, but even so, I was surprised to see a few women who sat with me last year. I was fortunate enough to be entertained by (first row left to right--Lois, me, and Sandy. Back row left to right—Janet, Judy, Sandy, Genevieve,, Jane and Jean.) Joyce had to leave early and missed the photo shoot.

What a fun group of ladies! I had a blast and felt like I had made new friends.

Anyway, Sarah Maclean was the Keynote speaker and she told an inspiring story about how the written text had changed her life, including being in New York City on September, 11, 2001, crossing the bridge with so many other New Yorkers that day, and being proposed to soon after that. Her Happily-Ever-After made me think about all the people who can’t read text, stories, or even simple words.

Did you know that according to UNICEF, nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women?

It gets worse.  2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

OMG! More than 60% of prison inmates are functionally illiterate. And with no help, many will return to prison. See the entire article here.

So, I salute the RWA for their efforts in combating literacy with their literacy booksigning every year at Nationals, and I am humbled that I was asked to be a  part of the Richardson Adult Literacy Center’s efforts in this battle we must win.  

I simply cannot imagine a world without words.


Risa said...

Amazing statistics. And extremely scary. Sounds like a great group of people doing something about it.


Pauline Frisone said...

Great post Liz. Sounds like a great event. In addition to those who are illiterate out there, whether due to educatonal drop outs, poverty, environment, there are others like my sweet and hilarious daughter who have intellectual disabilities. She is 19 and reads on a 2 nd grade level. There is fear, tears and unexplainable joy that comes from having a child with IA. She has always loved books, music and thankfully in this day and age books can be bought on iTunes. And there are some things I'm glad she can't read! ;). I'm grateful to associations out there that help and advocate for those in need. Thank you for your participation and also for bringing joy to readers. Have you done audio books? I would love to hear YOU read your stories. I imagine you with an accent and joyous attitude that only comes from the south.

Liz Lipperman said...

Risa, literacy is a cause most authors are passionate about. And how could you not after reading those scary statistics? Thanks for commenting.

Liz Lipperman said...

Pauline, kudos to your daughter for her love of reading. Audio books are wonderful. The only book that will be be on audio anytime soon is Mortal Deception, and that one is not a cozy and probably not suited for your daughter. However, I am a volunteer reader for Reading and Radio Resources here in the Dallas area, an organization that caters to the blind and handicapped people who cannot read or lift a book for whatever reason. I am reading LIVER LET DIE which will be available to the handicapped. I'm not sure how this will help you in Utah, but you might want to give it a look-see. I know they have a radio program where they transmit an audio book, an hour at a time. I've included the url.

And just for the record, I was born and raised in Ohio--so no Texas accent!! Sorry!!

Pauline Frisone said...

Darn, no accent through osmosis living in Dallas? I sit by a true southern bell at work, she mispronounces everything utahan. But boy it is hard not to start to twang just sitting by her. Thanks for info. And for all your good service to others. January just is taking its sweet time getting here for the next book! Can't wait.

Pauline Frisone said...

Oh. I didn't say dam. That is darn. D a r n! I should put my readers on.

Liz Lipperman said...

No accent unless you listen real closely and can hear my hillbilly accent. (I grew up a mile away from Wheeling, WVA.) I still say yunze when I'm around my family!!

And I absolutely love your enthusiasm for my stories. You have become a great cheerleader and a wonderful new friend.


Lindsay said...

It is scary to know that some many people will never be able to read or sign their own name.

Anita Clenney said...

What a fun event and for such a great cause. I can't imagine not being able to read. Not just because of the basics of functioning in this world, but not being able to escape into a book, to travel to places I might never physically go. Very sad.

Liz Lipperman said...

I know, Lindsay. It's hard for me to believe there are that many people out there who can't read, but statistics don't lie.

Liz Lipperman said...

It really was a lot of fun, Anita. I'm glad your weekend with Nora was fantastic, too.