MARQUETTE – Janis Kearney, author, book publisher and personal diarist of former President Bill Clinton, will give three presentations at Northern Michigan University. All are open to the public and free of charge.
Kearney will speak on “Diversity: The Color of Our Future” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb.1, in the Cadillac/Brule Rooms of the University Center. On Thursday, Feb. 2, Kearney will discuss “Careers for Writers” at 4 p.m. in the Nicolet Room of the University Center. At 7:30 that evening in the same location, she will present a reading from her book titled Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir.
Kearney was one of 19 children born to Arkansas delta sharecroppers. The book chronicles her three-decade journey from the southern cotton fields to the west wing of the White House. It is described in a publisher’s press release as “speaking of a black and white community in awe of the dirt-poor sharecroppers with their ‘air of people with something’; and how these parents – with little to speak of – kept their children out of school during harvest season, yet inspired in them a deep love of learning and an unwavering faith in a brighter tomorrow.”
Sixteen of the Kearney children entered and graduated from such colleges as the Harvard, Stanford and Yale law schools, as well as Brown University. Four siblings worked under Bill Clinton when he was Arkansas governor; two worked for him during his presidency. In the latter capacity, Janis Kearney served five years as Clinton’s personal diarist and two years as director of communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Her second book, Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton…from Hope to Harlem, is an oral historical biography scheduled to be published early this year.
Before joining the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, Kearney was the publisher of the award-winning Arkansas State Press newspaper. In 2004, she and her husband founded Writing Our World Press, the Chicago-based independent publishing house that released her memoir.
Kearney’s visit to NMU coincides with Black History Month and is sponsored by Diversity Student Services and the English department. For more information, call (906) 227-1554.