Curious Minds

The author Gerald Graff once said that talking "about books and subjects is as important educationally as are the books and subjects themselves."

The Lone Star College "Curious Minds" Committee invites authors to speak to Lone Star College-Kingwood students, faculty, and the Houston community about their books. Such visits – virtual, during COVID - enhances the academic and intellectual atmosphere of the campus by allowing people to meet and talk with writers on a regular basis about their work. This benefits the audience in that it exposes them to a wide variety of ideas of individuals who have reflected seriously on an important or timely issue. In addition, this demystifies writing and helps our community to see authors – and possibly themselves – as flesh and blood people grappling with important questions.

Author talks take place primarily, although certainly not exclusively, in the noontime hour (M, W, or F most likely) or on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in order to allow for greater student, faculty, and community attendance. Faculty also place these events in their syllabi and have their classes attend relevant addresses. When they are on campus, authors sometimes teach a class or host an afternoon faculty discussion, and they will sign copies of their books at the conclusion of their talks. We invite between 7-10 authors to campus each academic year.

The "Writers, Speakers, and Ideas" Committee seeks authors based on the following criteria (quotations from the National Association of Scholars):

  1. We "seek diversity" including "the intellectual kind," and for "nonfiction, seek works that exemplify important ideas lucidly argued and writers who take their rhetorical task seriously."
  2. We "seek books that are neither too long nor too short," but ones that could be read in a Lone Star – Kingwood classroom. Or, if the entire book would not be suitable, then perhaps a chapter or two could be used.
  3. We seek, "in fiction . . . works that exemplify elegance of language and a degree of complexity, along with moral seriousness."
  4. We seek authors whose books would "be more than a reading for the students. It will also be a public representation of the college’s academic standards, values, and reputation."
  5. We strongly encourage that "all members of the committee should read the books" of the authors invited to campus to speak.
  6. We would, as a committee, diligently "consult with others [on the Kingwood campus, if not system-wide] who read widely and well and who are intimately acquainted with good books."

For more information, contact the Committee Director, John M. Barr, at John.M.Barr@LoneStar.edu or at 281-312-1744.

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