Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright to discuss his pandemic-themed book at Alpine Public Library, kicking off new series on Big Bend healthcare

ALPINE – New Yorker-staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright will discuss his novel The End of October on Wednesday, September 22, at 7 p.m., as part of Alpine Public Library’s new series of community conversations on healthcare resources in the Big Bend region. 

Wright’s novel is about a devastating pandemic involving a virus that brings about the collapse of governments and the social order. While the pandemic in the book is much worse than what the world is going through now, there are plenty of parallels, in particular between the way the government has handled the response.

“We are hoping that the book will prompt people to think and talk about their own experiences with COVID-19 and with healthcare in West Texas,” said Lee Smith, the president of Friends of the Alpine Public Library, adding, “We hope that these discussions will lead into more conversations about regional healthcare.”

Alpine Public Library and Front Street Books partnered to host the reading as part of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

The Big Bend region is designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. government, and residents of the area, both those accessing and those providing healthcare, experience the challenges of this shortage, especially now, which spurred the library’s friends group to begin the new series of gatherings.

The friends group will continue the conversation on healthcare next month, where they plan to host multiple forums that involve members of the local healthcare community and area residents. 

“The idea is to allow everyone to talk about their experiences and to listen to others in order to gain a fuller understanding of the situation,” Smith said. “We may learn about resources available to us that we didn’t realize existed, and we may come to see ways in which we as a community can work to improve or gain more resources.” 

The dates for the October events are yet to be announced, but the series will kick off next Wednesday when Wright discusses his book, both in person at the library and on Zoom. For more information, contact the library at 432-837-2621 or visit the library website at alpinepubliclibrary.org.