We are glad to extend Berea alumni an invite to a virtual book club facilitated by Bobi Conn '02, author of her debut memoir In the Shadow of the Valley on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. EST.
In the Shadow of the Valley is a clear-eyed and compassionate memoir of the Appalachian experience by a woman who embraced its astonishing beauty, narrowly escaped its violence, and struggles to call it home.
To join the conversation on June 18, please register below. All registrants will be provided a Zoom link in advance of the discussion. Contact email@example.com with questions or for assistance with the online registration.
A Bit More About Bobi Conn and In the Shadow of the Valley
Bobi Conn was born in Morehead, Kentucky, and raised in a nearby holler, where she developed a deep connection with the land and her Appalachian roots. She obtained her bachelor's degree at Berea College. After struggling as a single mother, she worked multiple part-time jobs at once to support her son and to attend graduate school, where she earned a master's degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. In addition to writing, Bobi loves playing pool, cooking, being in the woods, attempting to grow a garden, and spending time with her incredible children.
In the Shadow of the Valley follows Bobi as she grew up in 1980s Appalachia. She remembers her tin-roofed house tucked away in a vast forest paradise; the sparkling creeks, with their frogs and crawdads; the sweet blackberries growing along the road to her granny's; and her abusive father, an underemployed alcoholic whose untethered rage and violence against Bobi and her mother were frighteningly typical of a community marginalized, desperate and ignored. Bobi's rule of survival: always be vigilant but endure it silently.
Slipping away from home, Bobi went to college and got a white-collar job. Mistrusted by her family for her progress and condescended to by peers for her accent and her history, she was followed by the markers of her class. Though she carried her childhood self everywhere, Bobi also finally found her voice.
An elegiac account of survival despite being born poor, female and cloistered, Bobi's testament is one of hope for all vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls caught in the cycle of poverty and abuse. On a continual path to worth, autonomy and reinvention, Conn proves here that "the storyteller is the one with power."