Weekend Retreat Will Bring Scholars and Readers Together for Deep Exploration of ‘The Year We Left Home’

(GREENCASTLE) – Want to relive literature class? Indiana Humanities is offering Hoosiers a chance with a Weekend Retreat that will dive deeply into themes raised by Jean Thompson’s book, “The Year We Left Home.”

The event will be March 27-28 at DePauw University’s Prindle Institute for Ethics and is part of Indiana Humanities’ One State / One Story statewide read of the book in 2020.

The Weekend Retreat will kick off Friday evening, March 27, with a keynote talk, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner party inspired by the book. The next day will offer stimulating talks probing the literary and historical contexts of the novel, breakout book discussions, and themed snacks and drinks. Teachers and librarians will be able to earn CEU/LEU credits.

“Exploring Jean Thompson’s book is one of the ways we can use the special tools offered by the humanities to see across urban, suburban and rural lines and plainly see each other,” said Keira Amstutz, president, and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “Scholars and experts will guide us as we deeply examine the complexities of what we consider home and why.”

Two ticket options are available for the Weekend Retreat at https://greencastleweekendretreat.eventbrite.com. A full ticket ($125) includes all activities and meals for both days. A Saturday-only ticket is $65. A 10% discount is available for those who register by Dec. 31.

The registration fee includes a copy of “The Year We Left Home,” a welcome packet with supplementary background readings, signature One State / One Story swag as well as cocktails and meals throughout the weekend.

Confirmed speakers for the Weekend Retreat, sponsored by Visit Putnam County, include Pamela Riney-Kehrberg of Iowa State University, Andy Oler of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jackie Swihart of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Liz Brownlee of the Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition.

Lodging is available for reservation at the Inn at DePauw and the Holiday Inn Express in Cloverdale for an additional cost. Indiana Humanities has set up a room block at both hotels.

“The Year We Left Home” retreat is part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year INseparable initiative, which encourages Hoosiers to explore real and perceived differences across urban, suburban and rural boundaries.

The book offers a complex view of urban, rural and suburban experiences in the American Midwest. Beginning in Iowa in 1973, the novel follows the Erickson family through the many changes affecting American life at the end of the 20th century. From city rooftops to country farms, college campuses to small-town main streets, the characters in Thompson’s novel search for fulfillment and happiness in an ever-changing, often alienating country. The story asks readers to consider the enduring, uniting power of place – and what they consider to be home.

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