Books Sandwiched In welcomes Dr. Margaret Lazarus Dean
Join Dr. Margaret Lazarus Dean for a discussion of her book Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight, Wednesday, July 27 at noon in the East Tennessee History Center.
In Leaving Orbit, a New York Times Top Book of 2015, Dean shares her search for an understanding of "what it means that we went to space for fifty years and that we won't be going anymore," a search that led her to Cape Canaveral to bear witness to NASA's last three space shuttle launches and the end of an era. Along the way, Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans.
"In the end, I did think I found an answer by sort of turning the question inside out—the real question is not 'Why did we stop?' but 'Why did we start going in the first place?'" Dean said. "That turns out to be the real anomaly, the thing that does not fit any pattern of history."
This program is planned in conjunction with University of Tennessee’s Life of the Mind, a common-reader program for freshmen. As its 2016 selection, Leaving Orbit is the first book chosen for the series written by a UT faculty member. With a continuing passion for the space program, Dean is now co-writing a memoir with Scott Kelly, the astronaut who recently returned from a record-breaking year in space. Kelly will help launch the upcoming academic year by speaking at UT’s Welcome Week celebration (free and open to the public, but tickets will be required).
Dean is Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing in UT's Department of English. She has also authored a novel about the Challenger disaster, The Time It Takes to Fall, which received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Popular Mechanics, and Longreads among many others, and she is a recipient of a Bread Loaf fellowship, a Tennessee Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, and the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize.