Author of book on Barack Obama’s mother to speak at Louisville Library [The Arena]


Janny Scott, author of A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, will speak at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 21.  Scott, a former reporter for both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, got interested in her subject while writing about the 2008 presidential campaign, and decided to explore the life of the woman who most shaped Barack Obama:  his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Scott’s research travels paralleled those of her subject; from Kansas and Washington state to Hawaii and Indonesia.  LFPL describes the book as:  “Compiled from nearly two hundred interviews with Dunham's friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, the book uncovers the full breadth of this woman's inspiring and nontraditional life, and shows the remarkable extent to which she shaped the man Obama is today.”

What emerges from all this research is the story of a strong-willed, impulsive, often generous, financially stressed woman who, admittedly, made many mistakes in her personal life, but never gave up her dream of doing something that she thought was important.  Stanley Ann’s life was rocky, often lonely and financially difficult.  She found it necessary to have her parents, living in Honolulu, raise her son Barack from the age of ten, and Scott tells us that Dunham often told friends that "he was brilliant" and that she missed him terribly.

In her book, Scott discusses Dunham's intellectual interests, stormy marriages, and how her years of separation from her son affected his psychological development.  Dunham (1942–1995) is presented by Scott as a study in unconventionality: a “feminist pioneer” who entered an inter-racial marriage at a time when they were illegal in many states; bore a son at 18; became an expatriate who thrived in the alien culture of Indonesia after her divorce from Obama's father.

Join Janny Scott at the Main Library, Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. The event is free, but tickets are required; order online or call 574-1644.

Learn more:  You should read the book before you go

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