A hospice chaplain and writer at work on a new book about how the dying make meaning of their lives
Aspen, CO (September 10, 2015) – Aspen Words welcomes Kerry Egan as its fifth writer in residence this season. A hospice chaplain and writer, Egan will spend September at the Catto/Shaw property in Woody Creek working on a new book, forthcoming from Riverhead/Penguin, about how the dying make meaning of their lives. At a free public event on September 23rd at the Woody Creek Community Center, AW hopes to draw in new audience members from spiritual organizations and the medical community in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The residency comes at an opportune time for Egan, who is diving into her first full-length book project in over a decade, after having published a memoir in 2004 titled Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago. At her public event, Kerry plans to read from her forthcoming book, and will discuss the joys and challenges of being a writer and hospice chaplain.
In a thought-provoking essay on the CNN Belief Blog, Egan describes her experience talking to people in hospice:
“Mostly, they talk about their families: about their mothers and fathers, their sons and daughters. They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally. They talk about how they learned what love is, and what it is not.”
Within 24 hours of the essay’s posting on CNN.com, over 3,000 people had posted comments, sharing their own experiences with spirituality and family members’ deaths.
Egan’s essays about her work in hospice have appeared in many other national print and online publications, and she has been featured on CNN’s Morning Edition and on PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. She received an M. Div. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Washington and Lee University. She lives with her husband and children in Columbia, South Carolina.
Wednesday, September 23 at 6pm
Woody Creek Community Center
More information at aspenwords.org.
Any questions can be directed to:
Program Associate of Marketing & Communications
Aspen Words | The Aspen Institute
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext 3#
About the Writer in Residence Program
AW’s Writer in Residence program offers writers an opportunity to spend one month in Woody Creek, CO to focus on current writing projects. Offered in collaboration with the Catto Shaw Foundation, the residency provides a space for authors to nourish their craft, giving them time to write, meet Aspen Words members, and convene with other authors. A monthly reading and talk event will be held for each resident author, among other special appearances by the writer to valley schools and private Aspen Words member functions.
Aspen Words (formerly the Aspen Writers’ Foundation) was founded in Aspen in 1976 as a cutting edge poetry conference and literary magazine. Today Aspen Words (AW) is one of the nation’s leading literary centers and a stage for the world’s most prominent authors. AW programs employ literature as a tool for provoking thought, broadening perspectives, fostering connections, inspiring creativity, and giving voice. Since 2009, AW has partnered with the Aspen Institute, underscoring the highest humanistic ideals of Aspen founder Walter Paepcke: to better understand human challenges by cultivating one’s inner life through the exchange of words, stories, and ideas. AW’s stated mission is “encouraging writers, inspiring readers, and connecting people through the power of stories.”
The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.