Avila University
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AU Spotlight
Submitted April 6, 2010
Avila professor showcased as part of Big Read


Nancy Cervetti, Ph.D.,
Professor of English
Member of Avila since 1993

Avila University Professor of English Nancy Cervetti will be one of 15 Kansas City women to read installments of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping on KKFI.  Running April 5 – 23, 11:30 a.m., each 30-minute installment will feature some of Kansas City’s most notable public officials, community leaders and media personalities. The first segment features former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, with subsequent readers including National Council on the Arts member Joan Israelite, Missouri Sen. Jolie Justus and KMBC-TV 9 “First News” Co-anchor Donna Pitman.  Cervetti’s installment will air on Tuesday, April 13.

“Robinson's prose is eloquent and poetic, full of rich diction and a deep appreciation for and intimacy with the beauties of nature,” said Cervetti.  “Robinson grew up around a large lake, and I sense that the novel's familiarity with the seasons, lake and forest stem from her own girlhood experiences.”

This serial reading of the novel is part of The Big Read on the Air, sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library and KKFI 90.1 FM.  Other Big Read events include a public conversation with Marilynne Robinson, an appearance by Pulitzer prize-winning book critic Michael Dirda and a KMBC-TV 9 Big Read interactive webcast hosted by Donna Pitman.  The webcast, set for April 30, 11 a.m., includes panelists Kelly Miller, Big Read facilitator for the Kansas City Public Library; John Mark Eberhart, information specialist at the Johnson County Library; and Cervetti.

"Robinson's prose is eloquent and poetic, full of rich diction and a deep appreciation for and intimacy with the beauties of nature."

“As someone who has spent most of my life reading and teaching literature, I realize the knowledge, pleasure and beauty that the special use of language we call ‘literature’ presents to us,” Cervetti added.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment or the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as Arts Midwest.

For more information about the Big Read and how to join the April 30 webcast on KMBC-TV 9, go to http://www.kclibrary.org/bigread.



Nancy Cervetti joined the Avila faculty in 1993 after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.  She specializes in British literature and feminist theory and teaches courses in Women and Literature, Darwin and Literature, Global Migrations in Literature, and Introduction to Literary Criticism. For more information about Cervetti, her recent works and her honors, visit http://www.avila.edu/English/Nancy-Cervetti.asp. AU