Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kate Erbe talks with high school book club

Watertown Daily Times, 11.17.09
By JAMIE MUNKS

Actress visits city school to spark interest in literature

Actress Kathryn E. Erbe of "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" discussed literature with Watertown High School students Monday, kicking off the Actors and Writers Book Club.

The book club is a new organization that will send an actor and a writer to high schools to discuss works of literature with students, in an effort to get students excited about reading and writing. Ms. Erbe said she decided to get involved with the book club because she loves to read and she thought it would be a good opportunity to talk to youths.

"I've been a voracious reader since I was 13, so that's why I got involved with the book club," Ms. Erbe said. "And I know high school can be hard, so I wanted to talk to kids of that age, too."

Book club founder Thomas P. Kelly discussed literature with Watertown students. Mr. Kelly is a novelist who wrote the book "Payback," and is the literacy director for the Writers Guild of America, East.

Watertown High School was chosen for the launch of the program because of a collaboration between Mr. Kelly and Watertown English teacher Emily G. Sprague. Watertown is also the type of location the book club wants to target, because it's far from a major metropolitan area, Mr. Kelly said.

"We're staying away from places like New York City, because there, you can throw a stone 10 feet and hit actors and writers," he said. "We want to go to places like Watertown, where it might be more exciting for someone to come to talk to students."

Ms. Erbe read an excerpt from the book "The Rules of the Game," written by Amy Tan. Then Mr. Kelly discussed the piece from a writer's perspective. The book centers on a young girl whose family moved from China to San Francisco's Chinatown.

Ms. Erbe used books as an escape when she was growing up, and as a way to better learn about herself and other people, she told students.

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