Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and other Long Stories Short” available Oct. 9
LAFAYETTE, LA – Sans Souci Press, an imprint of UL Lafayette Press, will release Jan Risher’s book, “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short,” Oct. 9.
To launch the book, Risher will be speaking about the book at 6:30 Oct. 9 at the Downtown Library for the Bayou State Book Talk.
Risher, an award-winning journalist, columnist and former managing editor of the Times of Acadiana, worked with a team of editors to select favorite columns originally published in The Daily Advertiser between 2002 and 2017.
Though Risher left full-time journalism in 2008, she has been writing a weekly column in Lafayette since March 2002 and, to date, has written more than 850 Sunday columns. The book will feature 182 columns. Risher began writing weekly columns for The Scott County Times, her hometown newspaper in Forest, Miss. in 1993 while teaching English in Slovakia. In 1999, as a young mother in El Paso, she began writing the column for the El Paso Times and continued doing so after moving to Lafayette.
“I was a blogger before it was a thing,” she said. “I’m not sure why, but I always wanted to write a newspaper column. Maybe it was because I come from a family of storytellers. Getting a word in edged-wise was a challenge, but, never fear, I managed. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity all these years to consider stories and share my life, observations and experiences with readers.”
The columns selected include big events like a trip to China to adopt a daughter, covering Katrina/Rita as a journalist, travels near and far, the 2016 flood and other events seemingly less significant like Christmas socks and her great-grandmother’s tea cake recipe.
Sid Salter, chief communications officer and director of the Office of Public Affairs at Mississippi State University — and former editor of Risher’s hometown paper penned the foreword for the book. “At heart, Jan Risher is a compassionate storyteller. She shares deeply from her own heart and from the grand storehouse of her family,” Salter said. “She writes honestly about family, home, love, mothers, and work – and about parenting, marriage, friendship, death, and all of life’s intangibles.”
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Michael S. Martin, Ph.D., Cheryl Courrege Burguieres Professor in History and Managing Editor of Louisiana History, said, “This book is a delight to read. Risher’s storytelling ability shines in her tales of tragedy, triumph, and all points in between. She reminds her readers that, although we might not have the same backgrounds or current situations, we all confront circumstances that point to our fundamental interconnectedness as human beings.”
In “Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers,” Risher’s columns are organized chronologically.
“I think of the book as Jan Risher’s Greatest Hits,” Risher said. “I’ll be interested to see when people read it which narrative threads they will find weaving in and out of the individual columns selected through the years.”
Risher’s shared recollections and experiences create a narrative of one woman’s efforts to build her family, build up her community and share stories and lessons learned from the past into the present. She doesn’t claim to have the answers, but her message of hope shines through in each selection — especially in her favorite column in the book, whose title was selected for the book.
“The experience that launched the series of events for which led up to the book’s title event changed my life,” Risher said. “In a way unlike ever before, I recognized the responsibility of having a voice and using it for good.”
The book’s ISBN is 9781946160331. It is priced at $20 (plus shipping and handling). To reserve a copy now or to purchase a copy beginning Oct. 9, visit www.janrisher.com. The book will also be available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Risher will be signing copies at 1 p.m. on Nov. 23, Black Friday, at Barnes & Noble in Lafayette (5705 Johnston St, Lafayette 70503).