O’Dell will give the keynote address at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15. O’Dell’s remarks will be followed by an interview with Jean Feraca, long-time host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Here On Earth.”
O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels “Fragile Beasts,” “Sister Mine,” “Coal Run” and “Back Roads,” which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. Her work has been published in more than 40 countries. “Back Roads” is currently in development to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven, the producer of the Academy-Award-winning “Capote.” O’Dell adapted the screenplay, which is set to be directed by Adrian Lyne.
O’Dell was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she writes about with such striking authenticity. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and spent many years living in Chicago before moving back to Pennsylvania where she now resides with her two children.