Winthrop University: Oct. 4 Hornsby M.L.A. Lecture to Feature Author Heather Lanier
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Oct. 4 Hornsby M.L.A. Lecture to Feature Author Heather Lanier

September 29, 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lanier's memoir is the story of raising a child with a rare syndrome, defying the tyranny of normal, and embracing parenthood as a spiritual practice that breaks people open in the best of ways.
  • The event is co-sponsored by the Master of Liberal Arts program; the departments of Interdisciplinary Studies, English, Social Work and Human Nutrition; and the Graduate School.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Hornsby M.L.A. Lecture Series returns to Winthrop University on Oct. 4 with an address by Heather Lanier, the author of the memoir “Raising a Rare Girl.”

Registration is required for the 7 p.m. Zoom event.

The memoir is the story of raising a child with a rare syndrome, defying the tyranny of normal, and embracing parenthood as a spiritual practice that breaks people open in the best of ways.

Like many women of her generation, Lanier did everything by the book when she was expecting her first child. She ate organic foods, recited affirmations, and drew up a birth plan for an unmedicated labor in the hopes that she could create a SuperBaby, an ultra-healthy human destined for a high-achieving future.

But her daughter, Fiona, challenged all of Lanier’s preconceptions. Born with an ultra-rare syndrome known as Wolf-Hirschhorn, Fiona received a daunting prognosis: she would experience significant developmental delays and might not reach her second birthday.

Not only had Lanier failed to produce a SuperBaby, she now fiercely loved a child that the world would sometimes reject. The diagnosis obliterated Lanier’s perfectionist tendencies, along with her most closely held beliefs about certainty, vulnerability, God and love.

Loving Fiona opens Lanier up to new understandings of what it means to be human, what it takes to be a mother, and above all, the aching joy and wonder that come from embracing the unique life of her rare girl.

Lanier also has written two award-winning poetry chapbooks. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Vela and elsewhere.

A recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Vermont Creation Grant, Lanier is an assistant professor of creative writing at Rowan University. Her TED talk, “‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Are Incomplete Stories We Tell Ourselves,” has been viewed more than two million times.

The event is co-sponsored by the Master of Liberal Arts program; the departments of Interdisciplinary Studies, English, Social Work and Human Nutrition; and the Graduate School.

For more information, contact Siobhan Brownson, M.L.A. director, at brownsons@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 7/13/22